A college student from Queens, New York has been arrested by the FBI for allegedly plotting attacks with the ISIS, also known as the Islamic State terrorist group. The man was arrested earlier this month after he and another man charged at police on Staten Island while reportedly armed with a knife.
The man, 20-year-old Munther Omar Saleh, landed on the federal government’s radar in September 2014 after tweeting that terrorist organization al-Qaeda was becoming “too moderate” along with other questionable activity. Back in March, Saleh was approached by Port Authority officers for walking near the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey. Selah was spotted on the New York side of the bridge the following day, which ignited a deeper investigation.
The aeronautical engineering student is a U.S. citizen and has expressed support of recent terrorist attacks, including the attack on the “Draw Muhammad” event in Garland, Texas. Saleh also researched how to make explosive devices, and even researched the events of the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.
On June 7, Saleh and an unnamed suspect charged at officers from the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. The New York Post reports that Saleh and the other man ran at the unmarked undercover police car but were taken into custody with no shots fired. The prosecuter’s charges were read recently, and Saleh has already appeared in court.
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From late March through this month, prosecutors charge, Saleh — who enrolled in a collegiate aeronautics program in January — made extensive online searches on building explosives and eluding law enforcement, court papers state.
“The investigation has uncovered that Saleh is making efforts to prepare an explosive device for detonation in the New York metropolitan area on behalf of ISIL,” according to court papers filed by Special Agent Christopher Buscaglia.
Saleh, who the feds say tweeted his concern that al Qaeda was becoming “too moderate” in 2014, espoused ISIS actions in online postings and specifically endorsed the Charlie Hebdo massacre in France, the fatal burning of a Jordanian pilot and the beheading of a Japanese journalist.
Saleh appeared in Brooklyn federal court over the weekend. He was ordered held until his next court date.