Earlier this evening, a press conference was scheduled by the Office of the Mayor to announce the arrest of a man yesterday afternoon, an “Al Qaeda sympathizer” of Washington Heights, is facing terrorism-related charges. Jose Pimentel, the 27 year-old man currently under arrest, was building a bomb to detonate in NYPD police cars. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Mr. Pimentel claimed that he wanted to “bring Jihad” to New York City.
The mayor played a video during the press conference of what the bomb would have done if detonated:
Ray Kelly noted that the bomb they found on site was put together from ingredients gathered at various Home Depot stores, and used instructions culled from the Internet to make it. Mr. Pimentel had been tracked by the NYPD since May 2009, and by the time he was arrested, he had planned on assembling three separate bombs, each armed with nails for shrapnel effect. He had planned to test the effectiveness of the bombs by detonating them in mailboxes—”locations outside of New York City,” according to Ray Kelly—initially.
The New York Times notes the intelligence gathering effort being Mr. Pimentel’s arrest:
“The Police Department basically had an informant with this guy,” said a second law enforcement official familiar with the investigation. “The guy is sort of giving to the informant all of these material on bomb building and talking about building a bomb and ‘supporting the mujahedeen by targeting — he’s kind of all over the place; sometimes it’s targeting servicemen and women returning from Afghanistan, sometimes it’s the police, sometimes its build it and test it, but it’s all over the place.”
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance also announced charges against Mr. Pimentel: conspiring to commit an act of terrorism and terrorism-related charges, as well as possession of a pipe bomb with intent to cause harm with it. The suspect was a “lone wolf” motivated by the presence of troops in Afghanistan in Iraq. He was not part of a larger network.