For over a year now the FBI had been watching the 19 year-old Somali-American, in an attempt to foil his plans of a terrorist act against the people of the United States.
Undercover agents in a string operation stopped the Somali-born teenager from blowing up a van full of explosives at a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony in downtown Portland, federal authorities said. The bomb, supplied by the agents was a dud and the public was never in danger, authorities said.
Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was arrested at 5:40 p.m. yesterday just after he dialed a cell phone that he thought would set off the blast but instead brought federal agents and police swooping down on him.
Yelling ” Allahu Akbar!”- Arabic for “God is great!” – Mohamud tried to kick agents and police after he was taken into custody, according to prosecutors. Last year this time Detroit experienced a similar incident when, Nigerian terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab tried blowing up a Delta flight landing in Detroit’s Metro airport.
In Nigerian terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab’s attempt a underwear bomb was discovered . Although it also was a dud, had it exploded it could have caused massive destruction.
“The threat was very real,” said Arthur Balizan, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon. “Our investigation shows that Mohamud was absolutely committed to carrying out an attack on a very grand scale.”
A FBI affidavit that outlined the investigation alleging that Mohamud planned the attack for months, at one point mailing bomb components to FBI operatives, whom he believed were assembling the device.
U.S. authorities have been struggling against a recent spate of terror plans by U.S. citizens or residents. In the Times Square plot, Faisal Shazhad allegedly tried to set off a car bomb at a bustling street corner. U.S. authorities had no intelligence about Shahzad’s plot until the smoking car turned up in Manhattan.
Late last month, Farooque Ahmed, 34, of Virginia was arrested and accused of casing Washington-area subway stations in what he thought was an al-Qaida plot to bomb and kill commuters. Similar to the Portland sting, the bombing plot was a ruse conducted over the past six months by federal officials.
And a year ago in another federal sting, 19-year-old Jordanian Hosam Smadi was arrested on charges he intended to bomb a downtown Dallas skyscraper. Federal officials said he placed what he believed was a car bomb outside the building but was instead a decoy device given him by an undercover FBI agent.