Tuesday 27 August 2019

Isis-inspired pair who wanted to be ‘bad bitches’ admit plot to bomb New York

The duo shopped for bomb ingredients with a third woman called 'Mel' - who turned out to be an undercover police officer

Two women inspired by Isis are facing up to 20 years in prison after admitting a plot to carry out a terror attack in New York.

Asia Siddiqui, 35, and Noelle Velentzas, 31, had studied how to make car bombs and had stockpiled propane gas tanks, soldering tools, jihadist propaganda and machetes in their homes in the Queens area of the city.

They also visited a Home Store looking for equipment for their bombs with a third woman they knew only as “Mel” - who was actually an undercover counter-terrorism officer.

Velentzas was said to have become “obsessed with pressure cookers since the Boston Marathon attacks in 2013”, when two brothers detonated bombs which killed three people and injured hundreds more.
New York City ( AFP/Getty Images )

She allegedly once asked her co-conspirator: “Why can’t we be some real bad bitches?”

She was heard on an undercover recording in 2014 saying that she and Siddiqui were “citizens of the Islamic State” and said that Osama bin Laden was one of her heroes.

On being told that an American had been arrested on his way to Syria to wage jihad, she said there were opportunities for “pleasing Allah” in the US.

The pair apparently discussed attacking the funeral of a police officer who had been shot and killed with his partner in the city.

They also talked about government targets, with Velentzas saying “you go for the head” when carrying out attacks.

Appearing in a federal court in New York on Friday, both women pleaded guilty to “teaching and distributing information pertaining to the making and use of an explosive, destructive device, and weapon of mass destruction, intending that it be used to commit a federal crime of violence”.

US attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement: “In an effort to implement their violent, radical ideology, the defendants studied some of the most deadly terrorist attacks in US history, and used them as a blueprint for their own plans to kill American law enforcement and military personnel.”

The guilty pleas mean that details of the New York Police Department’s sometimes controversial undercover operations will not be revealed in court.

Civil rights groups have accused the police of using tactics that could lure innocent people into plots they may have had no intention of getting involved in otherwise. The undercover officer known as Mel had been instructed to mingle with young Muslims to identify potential threats.

Police officials had expressed concern that her cover have been blown had she been forced to testify.

(Source: Independent)

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