CHICAGO — A US soldier of Palestinian descent was indicted on weapons charges related to a plot to build a bomb and attack the area surrounding a sprawling Texas military base, officials said Tuesday.
Army Private Naser Abdo, 21, had gathered everything he needed to build a bomb and carry out the attack when he was arrested in a hotel near Fort Hood on July 27, FBI agents testified last week.
During an interview with FBI officials, Abdo admitted he planned to build two bombs in his budget hotel room by packing gun powder and shrapnel into pressure cookers he would then detonate at a restaurant popular with soldiers, court records showed.
Items found in his hotel room included a .40 caliber handgun, ammunition, an article from Al-Qaeda's English-language magazine Inspire entitled "Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom" and bombmaking components.
Among the bombmaking materials there, police uncovered six bottles of smokeless gunpowder, shotgun shells, shotgun pellets, two clocks, two spools of auto wire, an electric drill and two pressure cookers.
A grand jury found there was sufficient evidence to charge Abdo with possession of an unregistered destructive device as well as possession of a firearm and ammunition by a fugitive from justice, prosecutors said in a press release.
He could face further charges in relation to the terror plot, a spokesman for the US Attorney's office said.
"The investigation is continuing," Daryl Fields told AFP.
The weapons and ammunition were bought at the same Killeen store where Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Malik Hasan bought arms that military prosecutors say were used in a mass shooting at Fort Hood nearly two years ago.
That attack left 13 people dead and 32 wounded.
Attached to the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, Abdo had sought conscientious objector status to refuse deployment to Afghanistan, saying he could not fight fellow Muslims.
But after his status was granted in May, Abdo was charged with possession of child pornography on a computer. He then left Fort Campbell without permission in early July.