Entries in Bomb (32)


Neighbor Says Accused Chicago Bomb Plotter 'A Very Nice Guy'

ABC News (CHICAGO) -- A preliminary hearing for accused Chicago bomb plotter Adel Daoud was delayed until Thursday after his attorney was granted more time to review the case.

Daoud's attorney, Thomas Durkin, told reporters that he is "suspicious" of the charges against his 18-year-old client, whom he described as "impressionable" and "immature."

"This doesn't smell like a terrorism case," Durkin said. "It smells like there's something wrong with this case."

While Daoud remains in custody, residents in his suburban neighborhood of Hillside said they were surprised by the news of the 18-year old's alleged attempt to target a downtown bar last Friday night.

"I would consider him a very nice guy. He waved, talked. For a teenager seeing him cut his parents' grass, you know, that type of thing, I would have taken him as a very good boy," Frank Howaniac, who's lived on the quiet residential street for 32 years, told ABC News Monday.

Howaniac was sitting outside his house at 9:30 Friday night when suddenly a caravan of federal authorities came driving down the street and went to Daoud's house.

Another neighbor, Souha Ibrahim, said she too was taken aback by the news of the teenager's arrest.

"I am surprised," Ibrahim said. "I'm surprised by what he did."

"He's a little kid. He was just brainwashed or something. He's so naïve," said another neighbor, Moussa Issa. "Somehow something happened there. He was just different. He wouldn't show up as much."

At the Islamic Foundation School in Villa Park, where Daoud went to school, members of the school administration wanted no part of the press.

"We don't have any statement to make at this time," school secretary Khaja Mohiuddin told ABC News. "You are wasting your time, so please leave."

At Daoud's house a woman -- who declined to identify herself -- directed ABC News to contact Durkin. On his way into the courthouse for Daoud's detention hearing, which was rescheduled for Thursday, Durkin, accompanied by Daoud's father, told reporters that he was "pretty suspicious" of the allegations against the suburban teenager.

"I think a lot of questions ought to be being asked about why the government wants to detain him," Durkin said, claiming that Daoud "wasn't too dangerous until last Friday night."

"I think it's a very suspicious charge," Durkin argued. "I think there's a lot of suspicious facts in there."

"Does it sound like he was on the Internet talking nonsense? Sounds like it, if the government is to be believed," Durkin stated. "Does that mean he has radical Islamic beliefs? I don't know. I know that my kids when they were 18 might have said some stupid stuff. Does that mean they believed it? I don't know."

Durkin said he had talked to people at Daoud's school and "they've said that he's very awkward socially. You saw him. I mean, he looks pretty immature to me."

Only blocks away from the courthouse, Mike Feirstein, who owns Cal's Liquors and Cal's Bar on Wells St., just on the outer edges of the Loop, told ABC News that he believes his bar was the one Daoud is accused of targeting on Friday. Feirstein's bar sits on a busy street corner, with the El train tracks directly across the street and another popular bar, Cactus, next door. The Chicago Fire Department has a station across from Cactus Bar and one firefighter told ABC News that the area was indeed the site of Daoud's alleged attempt to detonate a fake car bomb as undercover agents stood ready to pounce.

The affidavit says Daoud settled on his unnamed target because it was a bar, a liquor store and a concert venue and would be filled with "the evilest people" on a weekend night. Cal's was hosting musical performances from local bands on Friday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


L.A. Cops Searching for Bandits Who Strapped Fake Bomb to Bank Employee

ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- Authorities in California are searching for a pair of bandits who allegedly kidnapped a bank manager, strapped what they said were explosives to her stomach and ordered her to rob her own bank.

The robbers made off with a "significant" amount of money and police later determined that the device, though convincing, was a fake.

The victim described the suspects as "two black men, wearing ski-masks, and one had a handgun," according to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.

The woman was allegedly abducted on Tuesday night and held overnight, according to ABC News' Los Angeles affiliate KABC. She was taken to the Bank of America in East L.A. on the 900 block of South Atlantic Boulevard where she worked around 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday and instructed to rob it.

"A device was strapped to the woman's body," said Capt. Mike Parker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. "She was told that it was explosives and she was ordered to go into the bank, take out all the money. She did do that in fear for her life."

"While she was inside the bank, there were other employees present. She explained to them what was happening," Parker said. "She took the money out of the bank and threw it out the door to the bank robbers."

The ski mask-wearing thieves fled with the money in a two-door car, possibly a white Kia, according to KABC.

The bank manager was left with the device on her and authorities called a bomb squad. Los Angeles County Sheriff's investigators and FBI agents, including bomb technicians, responded to the scene. The device was removed from the woman and detonated by a bomb robot, according to authorities.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pennsylvania Teen Finds Bomb in Backyard

Tyler Varve(JONESTOWN, Pa.) -- Tyler Varvel, 14, was working in his Jonestown, Pa., yard when a strange-looking object caught his eye. “I was spraying weeds on the side of the property and I saw something shiny,” he said. “I thought it was a bar or a metal stake or something like that.”

“I flicked it up with my shoe not thinking it was a bomb.”

But that’s exactly what it was, a World War II-era bomb buried in the middle of the small town. Upon realizing what the object was, Tyler backed off right away. “I called my mother immediately,” he said, adding, “It was buried about 4 or 5 inches in, it looked like something you’d see in a movie or something, sort of like a little torpedo.”

Tyler’s mother, Lora, who happened to be driving by the police station at the time, stopped and went in, showing officers a photo of the bomb that Tyler had snapped on his cellphone. Police then contacted state authorities who sprang in to action, arriving at the home even before Tyler’s mother.

As military police examined the bomb, which they later determined to have an injury radius of up to 300 yards, they warned family to stay away. “They said, ‘Well, you need to step back, you need to get back a little further, maybe go up by the house,’” Lora Varvel, said, adding that discoveries of old military explosives were not uncommon in the area.

“Neighbors have found things before, like old grenades,” she said.

It’s unclear where the bomb came from.

Fortunately for the Varvels, members of the State Police Bomb Detection and Disposal Unit discovered that the bomb was inert and not a live round. But the memory of the incident is going to stick with the family.

When asked whether she thought she’d be finding any other explosive devices in the yard, Lori Varvel said, “Not really but it does make you think.”

In the meantime, however, the Varvels have put plans to plant shade trees in the backyard on hold.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Al Qaeda Bomb Plot Thwarted; Aimed to Coincide with Bin Laden Anniversary

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. and European officials say that even though an al Qaeda bomber was stopped before he could board a plane for the U.S., the threat is far from over -- there are believed to be several other would-be bombers with similar non-metallic devices that could get through most airport security screening.

Federal officials confirmed Monday that the U.S., working with other intelligence agencies, recovered an explosive device that resembles other bombs manufactured by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. They described it as a refinement of the so-called underwear bomb with which AQAP recruit Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to take down Northwest flight 253 to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.

This most recent plot was timed to coincide with the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death, but the bomber was apprehended before he could purchase plane tickets or choose a U.S.-bound flight. As ABC News first reported last week, the plot led the U.S. to order scores of air marshals to Europe to protect U.S.-bound aircraft. Flights out of Gatwick Airport in England received 100 percent coverage, according to U.S. officials.

Authorities say no flights were ever actually in danger.

As ABC News detailed last week, al Qaeda bombmaker Ibrahim al-Asiri, who designed Abdulmutallab's underwear bomb, was again the mastermind of the plot, according to U.S. and other intelligence sources. The latest bomb, according to authorities, was an improved version of Abdulmutallab's bomb, which failed to detonate properly.

The new bomb that was intercepted had what is being called "a highly refined detonation system" and is now being examined by FBI bomb technicians.

"The FBI currently has possession of the IED and is conducting technical and forensics analysis on it," said the FBI in a statement. "Initial exploitation indicates that the device is very similar to [bombs] that have been used previously by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in attempted terrorist attacks."

White House officials said President Obama was briefed on the plot in April by his counter-terror advisor, John Brennan.

Just one week ago, Brennan denied there was any such plot. "There is not credible reporting right now that there is an active plot underway to coincide with the anniversary of the bin Laden takedown," said Brennan then.

On Monday, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council said, "While the President was assured that the device did not pose a threat to the public, he directed the Department of Homeland Security and law enforcement and intelligence agencies to take whatever steps necessary to guard against this type of attack."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Man Claiming to Have Bomb Strapped to Chest in Calif. Hospital Found Harmless

Comstock/Thinkstock(LOMA LINDA, Calif.) -- On Thursday, a man walked into a hospital emergency room in Loma Linda, Calif., outside of Los Angeles, claiming to have a bomb strapped to his chest. Authorities later discovered the supposed bomb was harmless.

Authorities say the man, described as a Hispanic male in his late 50s, was wheeled out of the Loma Linda University Medical Center on a gurney and into the garage where the bomb squad has been inspecting the device to determine if it poses a risk.

“He's being interviewed and there's currently an investigation taking place with our bombs and arson division,” Corporal David Clifford at the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department told ABC News Radio. “They are currently trying to determine if in fact the device that he has on his person is a true explosive device or if it's inert or a fictitious device.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New York Subway Bomb Plotter Breaks Down on Witness Stand

iStockphotos/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Najibullah Zazi, the admitted ringleader of a 2009 plot to bomb the New York City subway, broke down in tears Thursday, during his third day of testimony against his alleged co-conspirator.

When asked by the prosecutor if he still considered defendant Adis Medunjanin a good friend, Zazi began to cry, and said, "I love him." Zazi's tears became sobs when he was asked if he believed Medunjanin intended to carry out the suicide bombings. Zazi hung his head, and after a short pause, whispered, "Yes."

Zazi told a jury Wednesday that his purpose in coming to New York was to construct a "martyrdom operation." Zazi, 26, was raised by Afghan parents in the Pakistani city of Peshawar. He moved to Queens, New York as a teen, where he met Medunjanin, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Bosnia.

Medunjanin has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit murder abroad, and of providing material support to a terrorist organization. He faces a life sentence if convicted.

A third conspirator, Zarean Ahmedzay, 27, who pled guilty to a role in the plot two years ago, testified Monday. All three of the Muslim men, who attended high school together in Queens, were "very close friends," said Zazi. Wednesday marked the first time Zazi, the central figure in the failed subway bombings, has described the plot in detail publicly, telling the jury he became radicalized after listening to jihad-promoting audio recordings.

In 2008, Zazi testified, the three men traveled to an al Qaeda compound in Pakistan where they received terror training, learning to fire pistols, AK-47 machine guns, and rocket-propelled grenades. Zazi said they were also instructed on how to make bombs using household materials. "It was very simple, and they're everywhere," he said of the chemicals, which include nail polish remover and hydrogen peroxide.

It was during this time in Pakistan, Zazi said, that the three men, along with a top al Qaeda fugitive known as "Hamad," devised what authorities have deemed one of the most serious terror plots since the Sept. 11 attacks. Zazi told the jury the men considered other targets, such as the New York Stock Exchange, Times Square, and an unspecified Walmart store, but eventually decided to target the subway because "it's the heart of everything in New York City," Zazi said.

Zazi said the men drew inspiration from videos of the July 2005 London metro bombings. "That was a very big achievement, achievement through hitting the United Kingdom economically," Zazi said.

Before the three men returned to the U.S., Zazi took handwritten notes on bombmaking and scanned them into his email, evidence that was introduced in court. Later emails show Zazi corresponding with one of his al Qaeda handlers to get the exact formula for completing the bombs. "[P]lez reply to what i asked u right away. the marrige is ready," Zazi wrote.

After leaving Pakistan, Zazi relocated to Denver, where he lived with relatives and took a job as an airport shuttle driver. Zazi later used the shuttle to carry his lethal chemicals.

During the summer of 2009, Zazi traveled to New York to meet with his conspirators, telling the jury, "We talked about if we were still into the plan. Zarein and Adis said 'yes.'"

The three men decided on suicide bombings at three different Manhattan subway locations during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to Zazi. He testified that the men specifically targeted trains leaving Grand Central Terminal at rush hour in order to maximize the death toll. We hoped that "people would have a lot of fear," Zazi said.

Zazi then returned to Denver, where he rented a hotel suite and began mixing the chemicals necessary to carry out his terrorism plot, creating what he said was enough for three bombs. Once completed Zazi rented a car, loaded in the deadly chemicals, and drove to New York.

However, earlier emails he had sent to his al Qaeda handler had been intercepted by the F.B.I., and by the time Zazi reached the George Washington Bridge, which connects New Jersey and Manhattan, counterterrorism investigators were waiting for him.

Police followed his car and Zazi, realizing he was under surveillance, stopped at a Queens mosque and threw away the chemicals, goggles, and other bombmaking materials. Ahmedzay flushed some chemicals down the toilet, Zazi added.

He flew back to Denver, where he was contacted by the F.B.I. and later arrested.

Zazi's guilty plea was part of a government cooperation agreement that guaranteed his testimony in Medunjanin's trial.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


World Financial Center Evacuated in Bomb Scare

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Part of New York's 2 World Financial Center was briefly evacuated Thursday after an inert novelty hand grenade was discovered in the mailroom, law enforcement officials said.

The World War II-era grenade was mounted on a plaque, with a "Pull in for Service" inscription. It was found in the mail room routine screening.

2 World Financial Center is located across the street from the World Trade Center site.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Feds Increase Reward in Michigan Lawyer Car Bomb Case

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The homemade bomb that blew up a Michigan lawyer’s Volvo and injured the man and his two young sons as they headed to football practice may have contained parts from remote-controlled cars, authorities said Thursday as they announced an increase in the reward offered for information.

In raising the reward from $10,000 to $20,000, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) issued a broad appeal for the public’s help in locating the suspect or suspects in the Sept. 20 attack on Erik Chappell.

The corporate litigation and family law attorney was taking his sons to football practice in Monroe., Mich., when his car exploded.  The vehicle erupted into a fireball and burned down to its metal frame.

The blast was so strong that it was heard a mile away.

“It was mayhem inside the car,” Chappell told ABC News.   “We were all dazed.  I noticed flames on my side and the passenger side.”

Chappell, who practices law mainly in Michigan and Ohio, sustained injuries to his right arm.  His sons, who were 10- and 13-years-old, were seriously wounded.

The three have since made a full recovery.  Chappell has said that he believes he knows who tried to kill him, but has declined to make that information public.

“It would have required some proximity in order to detonate it,” he said.  “They would have had to know that the boys were in the car.”

Police say the bomb was placed to inflict as much damage as possible.  The device contained shrapnel -- meant to increase its lethality, ATF Special Agent in Charge David McCain said in a statement.

“It is disgusting that the suspect was willing to kill innocent children to achieve his or her goal,” McCain stated.

The suspect would have knowledge of electronics, radio control circuitry, tools and metal-working.  The suspect also would have had a private work space to store, assemble and construct the device, McCain said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NYC Bomb Squad Called Out for Antique Bomb

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The New York City bomb squad was sent out to defuse history Thursday morning when summoned to assess the danger from a 350 pound Civil War cannonball found by workers excavating near a fort at the mouth of the East River whose batteries once protected Manhattan from an attack .

The cannonball is about 15 inches in diameter and appears to be solid.

The fort on Governor’s Island is in the middle of the river that flows in and out of New York Harbor. It was first built by the fledgling Continental Army in 1776 and fired on British ships before being captured. During the Revolutionary War, the British housed captured American soldiers on prison ships at the island where the ominously named Execution Light marks the southern end.

The Governor’s Island fort is one of a network of forts that were built at the harbor entrance and near the East River and the Hudson to protect New York during colonial and post colonial wars where sea power -- and coastal fortifications -- often turned the tide.

The former military base on Governor’s Island is currently the site of excavation as part of a cleanup of park land. Workers found the cannonball while moving piles of rocks.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Police: Teens Planned to Bomb School, Steal Plane

George Doyle/Stockbyte(ROY, Utah) -- School resumed as normal Thursday at Roy High School in Roy, Utah, only one day after police arrested two students who were allegedly planning to bomb their school assembly and make their getaway in a stolen plane.

Dallin Morgan, 18, and Joshua Hogan, 16, were arrested Wednesday after a female student received a troubling text message from one of the suspects.

“It was a text she felt was a threat and a danger and so she immediately went to the administration,” Roy Police Department spokeswoman Anna Bond told ABC News. Bond declined to reveal what the text message said because of the ongoing investigation.

Administrators contacted police, who executed four search warrants on the students’ homes and vehicles, and conducted a thorough sweep of the school.

"No explosives turned up during the search,” Bond said. “However, investigators found “maps of the school and information about security systems had been prepared with plans for an escape using a plane from the Ogden Hinckley Airport.

“We know for certain they had been planning this for at least three months,” she said.

Authorities also discovered the two boys had trained on flight simulation software in preparation for their getaway.

The FBI and its Regional Forensics Computer Laboratory will assist in analyzing any confiscated computers, but declined to comment on the case in a statement.

Morgan, who is an adult, is being held at the Weber County Jail. Hogan is being held at the Weber County Detention Center.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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