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U.S. Terrorism Events Log

2015View U.S. Terrorism Events PDF
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Jan. 13, Cincinnati: A 20-year-old man was charged with plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol using bombs and automatic weapons.  In November, 2014, Christopher Cornell told an FBI informant that he considered members of congress to be his enemies and was working on a plan to place pipe bombs at and around the Capitol and use firearms to kill people inside. He told the informant he supported the Islamic State under the alias Reheel Mahrus Ubaydah. Officially, Cornell was charged in federal court in Ohio with attempting to kill a federal government officer and possession of a firearm to attempt a crime of violence.

March 27, Joliet, Ill.: Cousins Hasan and Jonas Edwards were arrested after they plotted to attack the Illinois National Guard’s Joliet Armory. The cousins and an accomplice planned on using AK-47s and grenades to carry out their attack and anticipated killing as many as 150 people. The plot unraveled when their accomplice turned out to be an undercover FBI informant. Both cousins were charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization, a charge carrying up to 15 years in prison on conviction

April 2, New York City: Two women who planned on making an explosive device and detonating it with the intention of killing as many people as possible were arrested during a sting carried out by the FBI. The women, Noelle Velentzas, 28, and Asia Siddiqui, 31, of Queens, discussed their planned attack on a yet-to-be-identified target with an undercover officer. During numerous meetings with the officer the women expressed their admiration for other terrorist attacks in the U.S., in particular the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, which involved turning a pressure cooker into a bomb. Velentzas frequently mentioned her infatuation with pressure cookers to the officer.

April 16, Columbus, Ohio: A federal indictment against Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud was announced three months after Mohamud was arrested for plotting to execute several American soldiers in the same manner Islamic State has been executing hostages. In the indictment, authorities said Mohamud planned on attacking a military base or prison if his execution plan failed. Mohamud, a native-born Somali who became a U.S. citizen in 2014, was charged with state terrorism under post-9/11 laws and money laundering. Authorities began tracking Mohamud in 2013 after seeing several of his Facebook postings related to terrorist activity.

April 19, Minneapolis and San Diego: The FBI arrested six men in two cities who planned on traveling to Syria to fight with Islamic State militants.Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, Adnan Farah and Hanad Mustafe Musse, all 19, and Guled Ali Omar, 20, were arrested in Minneapoli. Abdirahman Yasin Daud and Mohamed Abdihamid Farah, both 21, were arrested in California after driving from Minneapolis to San Diego. Although none of the suspects planned on carrying out attacks in the U.S., authorities said they are a serious threat because they are part of a large group of native Somalians  living in Minneapolis that have been recruited by ISIS to fight in Syria. Authorities were apprised of the men’s travel plans from an informant who penetrated the group.

May 4, Garland, Tex: Two Phoenix men were shot and killed by local police after they opened fire at an exhibit that lampooned the prophet Mohammed.  The men were identified as Elton Simpson, 30, a Muslim convert, and Nadir Soofi, 34. Simpson had been the target of a previous FBI terrorism investigation. A security guard was wounded in the shootout. The men, who wore body armor, stashed carried extra ammunition in their car but no explosives were found. The Texas event, dubbed the Muhammad Art Exhibit, promised a $10,000 prize for the best cartoon depicting the founder of Islam. The contest was sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a New York-based organization labeled an anti-Muslim hate group. Islamic State militants later claimed responsibility for the attack, saying their campaign to recruit lone wolf attackers on U.S. soil will continue.

June 4, Boston:  A Boston man was shot and killed by anti-terrorism investigators who tried to question him when the man allegedly attacked the investigators with a knife. Usaama Rahim, 26, had initially planned on beheading anti-Islam blogger Pamela Geller but later decided to kill police officers instead. At the time, he had been under 24-hour surveillance by investigators. A week before he clashed with investigators, Rahim bought three large knives on the Internet.

June 11, Woodbridge, Md.:  A teenager admitted in court that he was the secret voice behind a pro-Islamic State Twitter account that had more than 4,000 followers and that he helped another teen travel to Syria to join Islamic State militants.  The youth, 17-year-old Ali Shukri Amin, plead guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization. Amin’s attorney said the youth, a devout Muslim, had made a youthful indiscretion after becoming upset with the direction of the conflict in Syria. U.S. Attorney Dana Boente said Amin’s arrest was one of nearly 50 similar cases in which people had been recruited through social media by Islamic State to either carry out lone wolf attacks in the U.S., travel to the Middle East to join their army or support the group in some other way.

May 27, Augusta, Ga.: An Augusta man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court of attempting to provide aid and support to Islamic State.  Leon Nathan Davis III told the court he planned on traveling to Syria to join Islamic State militants in their fight against the Syrian government. Davis was arrested in November, 2014, at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where he was about to board a plane for Turkey.  Davis had been under investigation for more than a year as authorities were tracking his social media postings indicating he planned to join ISIS as either a fighter or interpreter.  Davis could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison for his crime.

June 22, Charlotte, N.C.:  A19-year-old man was arrested after telling police he wanted to kill as many as 1,000 people on behalf of Islamic State. Justin Sullivan of Morganton, N.C., planned on buying a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle at the Hickory Gun Show on June 20. Federal authorities began investigating Sullivan after his father told emergency dispatchers on April 21 that his son was destroying religious artifacts in their home. A undercover FBI agent made contact with Sullivan June 6. Sullivan described himself as a Muslim convert who wanted to use biological weapons, cyanide-coated bullets and a gas bomb in a large attack that followed several individual assassinations as practice.

July 4, Boston: Authorities arrested a heavily armed man who was building bombs in his apartment and planned to attack an unnamed university campus cafeteria on behalf of Islamic State.  The arrest of Alexander Ciccolo, 23, came after a tip from his father, Boston Police Capt. Robert Ciccolo, to the FBI. Agents subsequently placed the younger Ciccolo under surveillance, during which they saw him buy a pressure cooker similar to one used in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. He was arrested after agents watched him take delivery of two Glock handguns, a colt AR-15 rifle and a SigArms high-powered rifle.  After his arrest, Ciccolo is accused of stabbing a nurse in the head with a pen at the Franklin County House of Correction. Family members told authorities that  Alexander Ciccolo had a history of mental health issues.

Sept. 15, Philadelphia:  A 15-year-old youth was arrested after authorities discovered he was planning an attack on Pope Francis during his visit to the U.S. The youth, whose name was not revealed because of his age, was arrested in August by the FBI after agents found a social media posting by the youth in which he talked about the attack. Agents found multiple firearms in the youth’s possession. Authorities said the youth was inspired to carry out the attack against the pope by Islamic State.

Dec. 2, San Bernardino, Calif.: A heavily-armed Muslim husband and wife opened fire at a holiday party at a state social services center, killing 14 and injuring 21.  The couple, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tasheen Malik, 29, were later killed in a shootout with police. Farook, a Riverside, Calif. native and Malik, an immigrant from Pakistan who met her husband in an on-line dating service while she lived in Pakistan, apparently became radicalized in the past year. Farook was an employee at the San Bernardino Department of Public Health, which was holding its party at the Inland Regional Center. Law enforcement officials said Farook and Malik were planning other attacks and had amassed an arsenal of 2,000 9-millimeter rounds, 2,500 .223-caliber rifle rounds and hundreds of tools used to make explosive devises. The couple left behind a 6-month-old child. 


April 22, Toronto: Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser were arrested for attempting to carry out an attack on a Via Railway train travelling from Toronto to New York City. The attack, according to the charges, was supported by an al-Qaeda element in Iran. Esseghaier and Jaser have been charged in Canada with conspiracy to commit murder for the benefit of a terrorist group, participating in a terrorist group, and conspiring to interfere with transportation facilities for the benefit of a terrorist group. Esseghaier has also been charged with participating in a terrorist group. Both men face up to life in prison if convicted. The two men are awaiting trial. Chiheb Esseghaier wants to represent himself, basing his defense on the Quran instead of on the Canadian criminal code, which has caused delays in the proceedings. A third man, Ahmed Abassi, is facing terrorism charges in the U.S., where prosecutors allege he radicalized Esseghaier. American authorities said Abassi and was pushing for a different plan that would contaminate the air or water with bacteria and kill up to 100,000 people.

April 15, Boston, Mass.: Two bombs in pressure cookers loaded with ball bearings, nails and other debris exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 200. Fourteen of the injured had severed limbs. Two men were sought after FBI investigators spotted them on a surveillance tape leaving the scene of the bombing just prior to their detonating. On April 18, one of the suspects, Tamerlan Tsamaev, 26,was killed in a shootout with police in suburban Boston. His brother and accomplice Dzhokhar Tsamaev, 19, escaped but was captured the following day. Dzhokhar Tsamaev told authorities he and his brother acted alone and that their motive was U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tsamaev also told authorities that he and his brother planned a bomb attack at Times Square in New York City.



Oct. 17, New York City: A 21-year-old Bangladeshi man was arrested by the FBI in New York after he allegedly attempted to detonate what he thought was a thousand-pound bomb at the Federal Reserve Bank in lower Manhattan. Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis was arrested after he bought and attempted to use explosives that were rendered inoperable by agents working undercover for the bureau'sNew York Field Office’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Nafis, who had been living in Queens, faces charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda. According to authorities, Nafis traveled to the United States in January 2012 for the purpose of conducting a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Working alone, Nafis attempted to recruit individuals to form a terrorist cell inside the United States. One of those individuals was an FBI source. An investigation was subsequently launched by both the FBI and NYPD. If convicted, Nafis faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

July 10, Boston, Mass.: A Massachusetts man accused of plotting to attack the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol building with model planes filled with C-4 explosives pled guilty to two terror charges and sentenced to 17 years in federal prison. Rezwan Ferdaus, 27, a Northeastern University physics graduate and U.S. citizen, 27, was arrested at the culmination of a long-term sting operation by undercover FBI agents posing as Al Qaeda operatives. The alleged model-plane plot called for Ferdaus to command a team of six operatives to use remote-controlled aircraft filled with explosives to attack the Pentagon and the Capitol before shooting survivors in a subsequent ground attack.

Feb. 17, Washington, D.C.: In a sting operation, a 29-year-old Moroccan was arrested in front of the U.S. Capitol carrying what he thought was a vest filled with explosives and an automatic weapon. FBI agents had been monitoring the activities of Amine El Khalifi for more than a year. Initially, Khalifi had intended other targets, but on Jan. 15 he told under cover agents he decided to target the Capitol. On Feb. 17, Khalifi received what he thought were explosives and the gun from alleged Al-Qaeda members. Rather, they were FBI agents. Soon after, he was arrested in front of the Capitol. If convicted, El Khalifi could receive life in prison.



Jan. 4, New Bethlehem, Pa.: Emerson Begolly, 21, was arrested and later charged with soliciting crimes of violence, including acts of terrorism, and with posting bomb-making materials on-line. Begolly allegedly pulled a concealed weapon on two FBI agents and bit their fingers while resisting arrest. Begolly had been active in on-line hate forums involving jihadist and anti-Jewish activities. He pled guilty in November and awaits sentencing.

Jan. 17, Spokane, Wash.: A radio-controlled pipe bomb was discovered along the route of the annual Martine Luther King, Jr. memorial march. The bomb, discovered in a backpack after police received a tip, was intended to spray marchers with shrapnel and cause casualties, was defused before it detonated. On Sept. 14, 2011, Kevin Harpham, who had alleged ties to a white supremacy organization called the National Alliance, pled guilty to planting the bomb and was later sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Feb. 24, Lubbock, Texas: An engineering student at Texas Tech University was charged with attempting to manufacturer weapons of mass destruction. Khakid Ali-M Aldawsari, 20, a Saudi national, allegedly ordered toxic chemicals used to make explosives. FBI agents also found e-mails with his intended targets, which included dams, nuclear power plants and the Dallas residence of former President George W. Bush. Aldawsari, who pled not guilty, was jailed without bail and is awaiting trial.

March 18, Detroit, Mich.: A bag containing a bomb was founding front of the McNamara Federal Building. The bomb was discovered after it was run through an X-ray machine. Gary Mikulich, 42, of Kingsford, Mich., was arrested in the incident but a judge found that he was not mentally competent to stand trial.

May 12, New York City: Ahmed Ferhani and Mohamed Mamdouh were arrested by New York City police after attempting to buy a hand grenade, guns and ammunition for a planned attack on an undetermined Manhattan synagogue. Undercover city detectives were involved in the case. Ferhani, an Algerian, and Mamdouh, a U.S. citizen with Moroccan roots, face possible conspiracy to commit terrorism and hate crime charges.

June 22, Seattle, Wash.: In a sting operation carried out at a Seattle warehouse, FBI agents and other law enforcement officials arrested Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif and Walli Mujahidh for their planned attack on a military center in Seattle. Abdul-Latif, 33, and Mujahidh, 32, had arranged to buy weapons and ammunition from an undercover agent posing as an arms dealer. Both men pled not guilty to multiple terrorism related charges and remain in custody while they await trial.

Sept. 11, 2011, New York City and Washington, D.C.: An alleged threat to deploy vehicles laden with explosives in Washington, D.C. and New York City on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks was discovered by American intelligence operatives. Al- Qaeda’s Pakistan group allegedly was behind the planned attack, which never took place but left both cities on high alert.



May 1, New York City: A car bomb is discovered in Times Square after smoke was seen by a street vendor coming from a vehicle. The bomb ignited, but failed to detonate. It was disarmed by bomb squad experts. Times Square was evacuated as a safety precaution. Faisal Shahzad, a 31-year-old Pakistani-American, pled guilty to placing the bomb in the vehicle, as well as 10 additional terrorism and weapons charges. On Oct. 5, he was sentenced to life in prison.

May 10, Jacksonville, Fla.: A pipe bomb exploded at the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida during a prayer service. Around 60 Muslims were attendance at the time, but no one was injured. A suspect in the bombing, Sandlin Smith, 46, of suburban Jacksonville, was shot to death on May 3, 2011 by federal agents in Oklahoma.

Oct. 27, Ashburn, Va.: A Pakistani American, Farooque Ahmed, 34, was arrested by FBI agents and charged with plotting to bomb Washington’s subway system. Ahmed had been under surveillance for months, during which time he made contact with FBI agents posing as Al-Qaeda operatives. He pled guilty and was sentenced to 23 years in prison in 2011.

Oct. 29, Dubai and Leicestershire, England: Bombs were found on two American cargo planes headed to the United States. One was found on a FedEx plane at Dubai International Airport. That plane was headed to Newark, N.J. and Chicago. A second bomb was uncovered on a UPS aircraft at East Midlands Airport in Leicestershire, England. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for both bombs.

Nov. 26, Portland, Ore.: Mohamed Osman Mohamud was arrested by FBI agents after attempting to set off what he thought was a car bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Undercover FBI agents posing as Al-Qaeda operatives gave him the bomb, which was made of inert explosives. Mohamud, 19, who had wanted to travel to Pakistan to join Al-Qaeda and instead planned the Portland bombing, pled not guilty and is awaiting trial.

Dec. 8, Baltimore, Md.: Antonio Martinez, 21, known as Muhammad Hussain after his conversion to Islam, was arrested by FBI and charged with plotting to bomb a military recruiting center in Maryland. Martinez, a construction worker, was supplied with a fake bomb by FBI agents posing as Al Qaeda operatives. He has pled not guilty and is awaiting trial.



May 20, New York City: A plot to blow up two synagogues in the Bronx and several planes flying out of a local Air National Guard base was foiled by federal officers. Four men, all of them black Muslims, were charged in the plot. Each received a prison term of 25 years.

June 3, Brooklyn, N.Y. and Trinidad: Four men were arrested for plotting to blow up fuel tanks and pipelines at JFK International Airport. The men had ties to Islamic extremists in South America and the Caribbean. Two of them – group leader Russell Defreitas and Abdul Kadir – were sentenced to life in prison.

Sept. 24, New York City: An Afghan-American was charged with planning to detonate explosives in New York’s subway system. Najibullah Zazi, 24, pled guilty to the charges and is awaiting sentencing. Five others have been implicated in the plot, including Zazi’s father and cousin. It was later discovered that Al-Qaeda’s Pakistan cell planned the attack and trained Zazi and the others.

Sept. 24, Dallas, Texas: In an FBI sting operation, 24-year-old Hosam Smadi was arrested after he believed he was triggering a bomb beneath Fountain Place, a 60-story downtown Dallas skyscraper. Rather, the bomb was a dud given to Smadi by FBI agents posing as Al-Qaeda operatives. Smadi was sentenced to 24 years in prison.

Sept. 24, Springfield, Ill.: Michael Finton [akaTalib Islam] was arrested by FBI agents for attempting to bomb the Paul Findley Federal Building and adjacent offices of U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock in downtown Springfield. Finton, 31, loaded a parked car with more than a ton of explosives. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison.

Dec. 25, Detroit, Mich.: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate explosives stashed in his underwear while traveling from Amsterdam to Detroit on a Northwest Airlines flight carrying 289 passengers and crew. The device ignited but did not detonate, and passengers interceded. Abdulmutallab, who pled guilty to using a weapon of mass destruction and attempted murder, is awaiting sentencing. Al-Qaeda’s Yemen cell claimed responsibility for recruiting Abdulmutallab.



May 8, Cherry Hill, N.J.: Six men were arrested in a plot to attack the U.S. Army base at Fort Dix, N.J. The FBI infiltrated the group, which considered itself Islamic terrorist sympathizers. Five of the six men received life sentences in prison.



March 23, Atlanta, Ga.: Syed Harris Ahmed and Ehsanul Sadequee were arrested for filming buildings in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., including the U.S. Capitol and world Bank, that were targets of a London-based Islamic group they were alleged to have met with. Sadequee was sentenced to 17 years in prison, while Ahmed received 13 years.

April 27, Beirut: Assem Hammoud was arrested by Lebanese authorities for plotting to destroy the train tunnels beneath the Hudson River between New Jersey and Manhattan. The plot was uncovered by FBI agents. The U.S. was unable to arrest Hammoud, a self-proclaimed Al-Qaeda operative, because the country does not have an extradition treaty with Lebanon. He was released on bail in 2008 and is awaiting trial in Lebanon.

June 23, Miami, Fla.: Seven men, led by Narseal Batiste, were arrested for planning to bomb the Sears Tower, the FBI filed office in Miami, the Empire State Building and other prominent buildings. The men were part of a Miami-based religious cult. Two men were acquitted and five were sentenced to prison terms ranging from six to 13 1/2 years.

Dec. 6, Genoa, Ill.: Derrick Shareef was charged with planning to set off hand grenades at a suburban Chicago mall during the Christmas holidays. He was a convert to the Nation of Islam and had connections to other terrorists. He was sentenced to 36 years in prison.



Aug. 31, Los Angeles: Kevin James, founder of Jamiyyat ul-Islam Is-Saheeh [JIS], a radical Islamic prison group, was arrested along with three others for a series of robberies that was intended to help fund attacks on National Guard facilities, synagogues and other targets in the Los Angeles area. James was sentenced to 16 years in prison and a co-conspirator, Levar Washington, was sentenced to 22 years. The other two conspirators were sentenced to lesser prison terms.

Dec. 5, Pocatello, Idaho: Michael Reynolds, 47, was arrested for planning to destroy U.S. oil pipelines. An informant posing as an Al-Qaeda operative, busted Reynolds. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.



June 14, Columbus, Ohio: Nuradin Abdi, a Somali citizen living in Columbus, was charged with planning to blow up a Columbus shopping mall. Abdi also was part of the Iyman Faris group that intended to destroy the Brooklyn bridge. He admitted having ties with Somali Islamic extremists. In a plea bargain agreement, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Aug. 3, London: Dhiren Barot was arrested and charged with plotting to bomb the New York Stock Exchange and Citigroup headquarters in New York City, the International Monetary Fund headquarters in Washington, and the Prudential building in Newark, N.J. Barot, 33, was a native of India who lived in the United Kingdom. Seven others were named as co-conspirators, all with Al-Qaeda ties. In 2006, he was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Aug. 27, New York City: Shahawar Matin Siraj, a 21-year-old Pakistani immigrant described as self-radicalized, was arrested for planning to bomb a New York subway station during the Republican National Convention. In 2007, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison.



May 1, New York City: Iyman Faris, a 34-year-old Pakistani American, was charged with planning to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge. In a plea bargain agreement, he was later sentenced to 20 years in prison. Faris was allied with al-Qaeda but also served as a double agent for the FBI.



Dec. 22, Boston, Mass.: Richard Reid attempted to blow up American Airlines Flight 63 by igniting explosives stashed in his shoe. Passengers caught Reid trying to light the fuse and he was apprehended. The flight, which originated in London and headed to Miami, was diverted to Boston, where Reid was arrested. He told authorities he was an Al-Qaeda sympathizer. Reid, known as the shoe bomber, is serving a life sentence in a Colorado prison.