Federal prosecutors have accused a New York City resident of planning an ISIS-inspired terrorist attack.
Munther Omar Saleh, 20, of Queens, N.Y., was arrested June 7 after undercover federal agents tried to pull over his car near the Whitestone Bridge. Instead of stopping, investigators said Saleh and an unidentified man jumped out of the car and ran toward the agent. Authorities said a knife was found on the man Saleh was with.
According to court documents unsealed Tuesday, Saleh had carried out several online searches about building and detonating various explosive devices, including pressure cooker bombs of the type used in the Boston Marathon bombing.
Saleh had been enrolled in an aeronautics program at Queens College since January and investigators believe that his knowledge of electrical circuitry would have helped him to construct a pressure cooker bomb or other explosive device.
The documents also alleged that Saleh expressed support for ISIS on social media, at one point tweeting in 2014 that he thought Al Qaeda was "too moderate." Investigators claim Saleh also endorsed specific terrorist actions, like the January Charlie Hebdo massacre in France, the attack on last month's "Draw Muhammad" cartoon contest in Texas, and the burning and beheading of a Jordanian pilot and a Japanese journalist, respectively, by ISIS.
The documents say Saleh came to the attention of law enforcement this past March 22 after a Port Authority police officer saw him walking near the George Washington Bridge. The documents say Saleh unexpectedly asked the officer if he could ride with him back to New York, a request the officer declined. The same officer spotted Saleh loitering on the bridge the following day, "looking around repeatedly while walking on the bridge."
Saleh has been charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to ISIS.