Police said Sunday they had arrested a U.S. citizen who planned to bomb police cars and post offices and kill U.S. servicemen returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to protest the American military presence in those countries.
Jose Pimentel, 27, a convert to Islam, had been under surveillance for two years but seemed to have stepped up his bomb-making activities and plotting after the Sept. 30 killing by U.S. forces of Anwar Awlaki, a radical U.S.-born cleric who was living in Yemen, authorities said. Awlaki was a prominent voice for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, an affiliate of Al Qaeda.
Awlaki’s death “really set him off,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said at a Sunday night news conference at City Hall. He called Pimentel a “lone wolf.”
Federal authorities also said this is not the first time since the 2001 attacks that local New York law enforcement officials have conducted their own anti-terrorism investigation without bringing in federal authorities. They cited a case in 2004 when two terrorism suspects were believed to be plotting to ignite bombs in the New York area, and New York police and their intelligence division shut down the operation.