US arrests two women for plotting to build bombs

New York, April 3 (IANS/EFE):  LTwo female sympathisers of violent jihad, accused of conspiring to build bombs for staging attacks on US soil, were arrested in New York on Thursday, police officials said.

The two women, identified as the 28-year-old Noelle Velentzas and the 31-year-old Asia Siddiqui appeared before a federal judge in the New York neighbourhood of Brooklyn on Thursday. They could face life imprisonment if found guilty, law enforcement officials said.

The accused women were arrested on Thursday morning by a Joint Terrorism Task Force team, which is part of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

According to prosecutors, Velentzas and Siddiqui had been planning to build bombs to stage attacks on US territory since last August, and over the past few months they had been acquiring various bomb-making materials.

Authorities said that the pair expressed their support for violent jihad since 2009 and Siddiqui even wrote a poem that appeared in a magazine published by the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Velentzas is said to have considered slain terrorist leader Osama bin Laden as one of her heroes and had said that both Siddiqui and she were the daughters of the Islamic State (IS), according to a communique released by the US Attorney General’s Office.

When asked about the arrest of a US Army officer who had intended to travel to Syria to join the jihadi forces there, Velentzas said that she did not understand people who went abroad when there were more opportunities to please Allah in the US.

We are committed to doing everything in our ability to detect, disrupt and deter attacks by homegrown violent extremists, said US Attorney Loretta Lynch.

In recent months, US federal authorities have filed charges against at least 30 people accused of trying to join or to enlarge the ranks of terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.