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Terrorism


Soldier Arrested and Charged in Plot Targeting Fort Hood Military

UPDATE: On May 24, 2012, Abdo was convicted on all charges.


Posted: July 29, 2011

A soldier suspected of attempting to emulate the Fort Hood shooting in 2009 has been arrested and charged for allegedly planning a similar attack against Fort Hood military personnel in Texas.

 

On July 27, 2011, Private First Class Naser Jason Abdo, 21, was arrested at a motel in Killeen, Texas. A search of his motel room turned up a large supply of ammunition, weapons and what an FBI agent has described as "some components which could be considered bomb-making materials. "Jihadist literature," including an article from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's first issue of the English-language Inspire magazine on "How to "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom" was reportedly also found in Abdo's motel room.

 

Abdo, who was absent without leave since the July 4 holiday, apparently tried to emulate Nidal Malik Hasan, who killed 13 people in a November 2009 shooting spree at the Fort Hood military base. Reports indicate that he purchased ammunition and gun powder at the same store where Hasan bought his weapons.  While at the gun store, Abdo also asked for information regarding explosives.  An employee at the store called the local police to report Abdo's suspicious activity, ultimately leading to his arrest.

 

In an apparent bid to fit in around the base community Abdo also purchased uniforms with Fort Hood patches.  According to early reports, Abdo made references to injuring or murdering others when he was arrested by local police and then confessed to federal agents that he was out to "get even."  He allegedly planned to plant bombs at a restaurant frequented by base personnel and then to target the survivors with firearms.  The local police chief, Dennis Baldwin, told reporters that he classified Abdo's activity "as a terror plot."

 

Abdo made headlines in the summer of 2010 when he applied for conscientious objector status prior to his scheduled deployment to Afghanistan.  He claimed that his faith precluded him from serving in the U.S. military, telling media at the time that "A Muslim is not allowed to participate in an Islamicly [sic] unjust war. Any Muslim who knows his religion or maybe takes into account what his religion says can find out very clearly why he should not participate in the U.S. military."  His request was granted, but his separation from the Army was delayed pending a child pornography charge.

 

Abdo was charged on July 29th, 2011 with illegally possessing a bomb.  As he was leaving his first court appearance, he yelled "Nidal Hasan Fort Hood 2009."  This outburst was in stark contrast to an essay Abdo wrote to mark the first anniversary of the Fort Hood massacre, which he called ""an act of aggression by a man and not by Islam."

 

Two other unidentified individuals have reportedly been questioned but not arrested in connection with Abdo, though an FBI spokesman said he was not "working with others."  The spokesman indicated that Abdo's motivation was unclear, saying "we're looking into all aspects of Mr. Abdo's life to determine his motivations and intentions."

 

Abdo's planned bombing was the second time in recent weeks that a soldier was arrested in with bomb-making materials.  On June 17, 2011, Yonathan Melaku, 22, a Marine Corps reservist originally from Ethiopia was arrested; at the time of his arrest, his backpack contained spent shell casings, a notebook that contained references to the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and mujahideen, as well as a powder that was later confirmed to be ammonium nitrate, a substance which can be used in bombs. 

 

Abdo's arrest is the latest in a growing trend of attacks and planned attacks on U.S. military personnel.  These include the first Fort Hood massacre, the recent Seattle plot to attack a military processing center, a planned attack on the Fort Dix Army Base in New Jersey, a plot in New York to shoot down military aircraft, and a planned attack on the Marine Corps base in Quantico.  

 

Abdo faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

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