Terror Suspect Planned to Attack Mall
Investigators have charged a Boston man with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and other crimes as he planned to attack at least one U.S. shopping mall.
U.S. federal prosecutors have charged a Massachusetts man with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, alleging he and co-conspirators traveled to the Middle East seeking training, discussed attacking a shopping center, and distributed videos promoting holy war.
Tarek Mehanna, 27, from Sudbury, Massachusetts, was arrested at his home on Wednesday morning, officials said.
“Mehanna and the co-conspirators had multiple conversations about obtaining automatic weapons and randomly shooting people in a shopping mall, and that the conversations went so far as to discuss the logistics of a mall attack, including coordination, weapons needed and the possibility of attacking emergency responders,” the U.S. Justice Department said.
Mehanna had been previously indicted in January 2009 for making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other officials in connection with a terrorism investigation, the Justice Department said in a news release.
Prosecutors allege that from 2001 to 2008 Mehanna conspired with a man named Ahmad Abousamra and others in an attempt to kill, kidnap or injure people in the United States.
Planned to attack at least one U.S. shopping mall, Loucks said, but that did not happen because they couldn’t obtain the assault weapons they wanted, he said. He didn’t name the mall.
Loucks said the men had planned to assault multiple entrances of the mall, and had determined the steps they would take when first responders arrived.
Mehanna also is charged with using material support and resources in a conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure people or to damage property in a foreign country, Loucks said.
“I think we’re satisfied that we know every member of this group,” the attorney said. “We do not believe that there are any terrorist cells in this area.”
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