New York Police have arrested a man Jose Pimentel, 27, described as an "Al-Qaeda sympathizer," and convert to Islam, on charges of conspiring to build a bomb for purposes of terrorism, and possessing a weapon "intended for violence."
According to Police, Jose Pimentel is a U.S. citizen born in the Dominican Republic. He had lived in Schenectady, New York, for five years, but most of his life was spent in Manhattan. Pimentel had recently separated from his wife.
The Australian reports Pimentel was accused of plotting to bomb New York City Police, post offices and U.S. troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. He was arraigned a few hours after city officials announced his arrest on terrorism charges.
According to The Financial Times, Mr. Pimentel is an admirer of U.S. born al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, killed under controversial circumstances in a U.S. drone attack in September. Police say that Pimentel's resolve to carry out terrorist bombing was intensified by the death of al-Awlaki.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Sunday that New York Police took Pimentel into custody on Saturday after they obtained evidence he was planning to test a bomb in a mail box outside New York City. According to Mayor Bloomberg,
“The suspect was a so-called ‘lone wolf’ motivated by his own resentment about the presence of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was not part of a larger conspiracy emanating from abroad."
Police sources say that Pimentel had been reading about Al-Qaeda and was looking to travel to Yemen for training in terrorist operations. Pimentel learned how to build bombs by reading an online publication of Al-Qaeda, Inspire Magazine. Jose Pimentel, according to Ray Kelly, New York's police commissioner, had acquired the materials to build a bomb, including pipe "elbows" and nails from retail stores. According to The Sun, Pimental had been under police surveillance for two years. He was arrested after he began drilling into a pipe at his mother's flat.
According to The Financial Times, New York's Police Commissioner said:
"We had to act quickly yesterday because he was in fact putting this bomb together. He was drilling holes and it would have been not appropriate for us to let him walk out the door with that bomb."