NEW YORK (AP) — A college student who authorities said was inspired by the Islamic State terror group has been arrested on charges he was planning an attack in New York City, according to court documents unsealed on Tuesday.
The criminal complaint identifies Munther Omar Saleh, an American citizen, as a 20-year-student enrolled at an unidentified college in Queens that specialized in aeronautics.
The complaint said an investigation revealed that Saleh is a “fervent supporter” of the Islamic State. It said he searched the Internet for information about pressure-cooker bombs and city landmarks and tourist attractions. The court papers said agents were tailing Saleh’s car on June 7 when they arrested him and an unnamed co-conspirator.
According to the complaint, a police officer with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey saw Saleh in March, on foot and with a lantern, approaching the George Washington Bridge from the New Jersey side. After seeing him again the next day, this time walking on the bridge, the officer brought Saleh to Port Authority offices, where he was interviewed.
Authorities searched his computer, and found files that appeared to be translations of Islamic State writings into English.
Further surveillance of Saleh’s computer activity found searches for combat weapons as well as bomb instructions, according to the complaint. Law enforcement watching Saleh’s movements and followed him to a Queens store that sells products like hidden cameras and microphone detectors.
According to the complaint, social media accounts that authorities linked to Saleh had statements on them showing his support of the Islamic Group, as well as support for the attacks on a satirical magazine in France and the burning to death of a Jordanian pilot by the terror group.
Prosecutors wouldn’t comment on Tuesday about whether Saleh has appeared in court. The name of his attorney wasn’t available.
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