FBI agents have arrested and charged a US teen hoping to engage in “violent jihad” after he tried to detonate a would-be car bomb outside a bar in downtown Chicago, officials said.
Friday night’s arrest of Adel Daoud, an American, marked the end of an undercover sting operation during which agents provided him with a fake bomb that he attempted to set off shortly before he was detained, the US Attorney’s Office in Chicago said in a statement.
Daoud, who lives in the Chicago suburb of Hillside, appeared before a judge Saturday and was charged with one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and another count of attempting to destroy a building by means of an explosive.
According to an affidavit in the case, two undercover FBI agents contacted Daoud around May in response to material he posted online and began exchanging messages with him.
“During these communications, Daoud expressed an interest in engaging in violent jihad, either in the United States or overseas, referred to his ongoing efforts to recruit other individuals to engage in violent jihad and mentioned that he had discussed plans for an attack with ‘trusted brothers,'” read the affidavit.
From late May to mid-June, Daoud sought guidance on whether to carry out a terrorist attack in the United States, the affidavit said, and “confirmed his belief in the propriety of killing Americans in a terrorist attack.” He then began looking for online resources on how to carry out an attack.
On July 17, Daoud met with an undercover FBI agent introduced to him as a purported cousin of one of the other agents and an “operational terrorist.”
During the roughly two-hour gathering, which was recorded, Daoud allegedly said that he wanted to “do something (an attack) here (in the United States) at the same time,” according to the affidavit.
At a subsequent meeting in early August, the pair discussed “plans to carry out an attack in the Chicago area with a vehicle containing explosives,” the document added.
During that gathering, Daoud allegedly showed the undercover agent four handwritten pages from a notebook that listed about 29 potential targets, including military recruiting centers, bars, malls and other tourist attractions in and around Chicago.
Other meetings followed, interspersed by electronic communications.
During one such exchange, Daoud said he had been debating the topic of jihad with someone at his mosque and that the conversation was reported to a religious leader who proceeded to “yell” at them.
Daoud’s father was also informed of the incident and, according to the affidavit, told his son to “stop talking about these topics.”
Still, Daoud pressed on with his plan. When he first saw the phony bomb, inside a green Jeep Cherokee hidden in a storage unit, “Daoud expressed excitement about the device” adding that he hoped many people would be killed in the attack, the affidavit said.
On Friday, the day of the attempted bomb plot, Daoud led a prayer with the undercover agent on their way to downtown Chicago that called for the attack to be successful, “kill many people and cause destruction.”
Around 8:00 pm (0100 GMT Saturday), Daoud drove the Jeep containing the fake bomb — which had been left in a parking lot — in front of an unnamed bar in downtown Chicago.
From an alley about a block away, he attempted to detonate the device and was subsequently taken into custody by the FBI.
Daoud is scheduled to appear in federal court Monday for a preliminary hearing.