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FACTBOX-Recent attempted attacks on the United States

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Thu, 24 Feb 2011 20:44 GMT
Author: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2011. Click For Restrictions.
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Feb 24 (Reuters) - U.S. authorities have arrested a Saudi man in Texas after uncovering what they say was a plot to build and explode bombs and that may have targeted the home of former President George W. Bush. [nN24265170]

Following are details of the alleged plot and other recent attempted attacks on the United States, some of which were tied to, or believed to have links to, anti-American militant groups like al Qaeda or the Taliban.

February 2011: A Saudi-born student, Khalid Aldawsari, was arrested in Texas after FBI agents were tipped off by a chemical supplier and freight company that he was trying to buy materials that could be used build improvised explosive devices. Authorities discovered he had purchased some chemicals and was trying acquire others used to manufacture explosives. He also drew up a list of possible targets he had e-mailed to himself, which included the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush as well as hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants and a nightclub, according to an FBI affidavit.

October 2010: After U.S. officials received a tip from Saudi Arabia, two packages containing explosive materials destined for Jewish centers in Chicago were intercepted by authorities in England and Dubai. The explosives were tentatively identified as PETN, a strong explosive used in the past by the al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP. Two women in Yemen are in custody who are believed to have delivered the packages to the UPS and FedEx offices for shipping.

May 2010: A Pakistani-born U.S. citizen, Faisal Shahzad, drove a sport utility vehicle packed with a crude bomb into the heart of Times Square in New York on a crowded Saturday evening. The bomb failed to go off and was discovered by passersby. He was caught days later as he tried to fly to Dubai. Shahzad admitted to receiving bomb-making training and funding from Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced this month to life in a U.S. prison.

December 2009: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, originally from Nigeria, boarded a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day and allegedly tried to detonate a bomb sewn into his underwear. The explosives, PETN, failed to detonate fully and passengers and crew subdued him. Abdulmutallab began cooperating with U.S. authorities. Officials say he told them he had received the bomb and training from AQAP in Yemen. He is facing trial in a U.S. court in 2011, but he suggested during a recent court hearing he could plead guilty to some of the charges.

November 2009: U.S. Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a Muslim born in the United States, is accused of killing 13 and wounding 32 during a shooting rampage at the U.S. Army installation in Fort Hood, Texas. U.S. authorities learned later he had been communicating with the Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is an American but left the country soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and has since encouraged attacks against his homeland. Al-Awlaki is believed to be hiding in Yemen. Hasan is facing trial in a military court.

September 2009: Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan-born man who is a permanent U.S. resident and was living in Colorado, plotted a suicide bomb attack on the New York subway system. He received training from al Qaeda in the remote Waziristan region of Pakistan, which borders Afghanistan. He drove to New York in preparation for the attack but discarded bomb-making materials after learning he was under surveillance from a local imam. He was arrested later in Colorado and pleaded guilty to the plot in February. His sentencing has been postponed until June and he has been cooperating with authorities. (Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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