Feds: Maryland terror bomb plot similar to Portland case

Feds: Maryland terror bomb plot similar to Portland case
Pedestrians walk past the lighted Christmas tree in Pioneer Square in Portland, Ore. on Saturday Nov. 27, 2010, the evening after an unsuccessful car bomb plot during the annual tree lighting ceremony. Now, Federal authorities say a similar plot has been foiled on the East Coast.

BALTIMORE (AP) - A Baltimore man was arrested Tuesday for plotting to blow up a military recruitment center, authorities said.

The man was caught in a sting operation as he tried to detonate a phony bomb at an Armed Forces recruiting station in Catonsville, just outside Baltimore, officials said.

"There was no actual danger to the public as the explosives were inert and the suspect had been carefully monitored by law enforcement for months," the U.S. Attorney's Office for Maryland said in a statement.

The man was arrested after he tried to set off what he thought was a bomb, according to an official who was briefed on the arrest. The official spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

There was no evidence the plot was linked to recent shootings at military installations in the Washington area, authorities said.

The man had an initial appearance scheduled for 2 p.m. in federal court in Baltimore. Officials did not release his name.

There are several military recruiting offices in Catonsville, and it was not immediately clear which had been targeted. Petty Officer Brandyn Hill, a Coast Guard spokesman, said he was told by people working in the Coast Guard office that it was not the target of the plot.

The case appeared similar to a recent bomb plot in Portland, Ore. The day after Thanksgiving, a Somali-born teenager was arrested there after using a cell phone to try to detonate what he thought were explosives in a van, authorities said.He thought he was going to bomb a crowded downtown Christmas tree-lighting ceremony.

Like the Baltimore County case, it turned out to be a dummy bomb plot put together by FBI agents. Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was arrested after authorities said he planned the details of the plot, including where to park the van filled with explosives to hurt the most people.

Mohamud allegedly believed he was receiving help from a larger ring of jihadists as he communicated with undercover agents.

The incidents are the latest in a string of alleged terrorist plans by U.S. citizens or residents, including a Times Square plot in which a Pakistan-born man tried to set off a car bomb on a busy street. He pleaded guilty earlier this year.

 

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)