Saudi student in US gets life in prison for bombmaking scheme
Khalid Aldawsari, who was convicted in June, came under suspicion when he ordered chemicals. Prosecutors said the key to the case was the role played by citizens who contacted officials.
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During a search of his apartment, agents found a chemical set, flasks, a hazmat suit, a soldering kit, a battery tester, alarm clocks, and a stun gun. They said it appeared he’d purchased a strand of Christmas tree lights to wire a detonator.Skip to next paragraph
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According to court documents, Aldawsari used the Internet to obtain instructions to mix the chemicals into an explosive, as well as instructions to modify a cellphone into a remote detonation device.
One e-mail offered a simplified lesson in how to booby-trap a vehicle with common household materials. The lesson, the e-mail said in part, was directed especially to the brothers in America and Europe. It noted that “one operation in the land of infidels is equal to ten operations against occupying forces in the land of the Muslims.”
Agents also discovered that Aldawsari had sent himself e-mails listing potential targets for his planned attacks.
An e-mail entitled “NICE TARGETS 01” listed 12 reservoirs and dams in Colorado and California. Agents also found information about three US citizens who had served in the military at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. And there were indications he was considering a rush-hour attack in New York City.
In a disguised Web posting in March 2010, Aldawsari expressed his desire to become a martyr for Islam. “You who created mankind and who is knowledgeable of what is in the womb, grant me martyrdom for Your sake and make Jihad easy for me only in Your path,” he wrote under the blog name “fromfaraway90.”
Federal prosecutors said the key to the Aldawsari case was the role played by alert citizens who contacted officials to investigate suspicious activities.
“Khalid Aldawsari, acting as a lone wolf, may well have gone undetected were it not for the keen observations of private citizens,” Sarah Saldaña, US attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said in a statement.
“This case serves as a reminder to all private citizens that we must always be observant and vigilant, as there are some who intend to cause great harm,” Ms. Saldaña said.