independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Man held as police foil car bomb plot at US airport

The terminal at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport.

A US technician was arrested on charges that he planned to set off a car bomb at the Wichita airport in Kanas in the US in an attack intended to support al-Qa'ida.

Terry Lee Loewen (58), who worked at the airport, was arrested as he tried to enter the tarmac in a vehicle he believed was loaded with high explosives.

However, the materials in the car were inert, and no one was in any immediate danger, authorities said.

Loewen had been under investigation for about six months after making online statements to an undercover agent about wanting to commit "violent jihad" against the United States, US Attorney Barry Grissom said.

Authorities said Loewen spent months studying the layout of the Mid-Continent Regional Airport, its flight patterns and other details to maximise fatalities and damage.

During that time, he developed a plan with other conspirators to use his employee access card to pull off the attack. The conspirators were actually undercover FBI agents.

Loewen planned to die in the explosion, a fate that he said was inevitable in his quest to become a martyr in a jihad against America.

Authorities said they believe Loewen acted alone.

In his online conversations, Loewen talked about downloading documents about jihad, martyrdom and an al-Qa'ida "manual".

He frequently expressed admiration for Anwar Al-Awlaki, the American-born al-Qa'ida leader who was killed in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen.

Irish Independent

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