NEW YORK, N.Y. – Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sunday an “al-Qaida sympathizer” who plotted to bomb police and post offices in New York City as well as U.S. troops returning home has been arrested on numerous terrorism-related charges.
Bloomberg announced at a news conference the Saturday arrest of 27-year-old Jose Pimentel of Manhattan, a U.S. citizen originally from the Dominican Republic.
The mayor said Pimentel was “plotting to bomb police patrol cars and also postal facilities as well as targeted members of our armed services returning from abroad.” But authorities have no evidence that Pimentel was working with anyone else, the mayor said.
“He appears to be a total lone wolf,” Bloomberg said.
Pimentel was motivated by his resentement of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, fueled by al-Qaida propaganda, the mayor said. “He was not part of a larger conspiracy emanating from abroad.” However, Bloomberg said Pimentel represents the type of threat FBI Director Robert Mueller has warned about as U.S. forces erode the ability of terrorists to carry out large scale attacks.
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Pimentel is accused of having an explosive substance Saturday when he was arrested that he planned to use against others and property to terrorize the public. The charges accuse him of conspiracy going back at least a year, first-degree criminal possession of a weapon as a crime of terrorism, and soliciting support for a terrorist act. He was to be arraigned later Sunday.
“This is just another example of New York City because we are an iconic city … this is a city that people would want to take away our freedoms gravitate to and focus on,” Bloomberg said.
The New York Police Department’s Intelligence Division was involved in the arrest. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Pimentel spent most of his years in Manhattan and lived about five years in Schenectady.
Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed to this report from New York. AP writer Samantha Gross contributed to this report.