Sunday 25 September 2016

Man suspected of plotting Boston Marathon-style attack arrested

Tim McLaughlin

Published 13/07/2015 | 22:51

A runner sits near Kenmore Square after two bombs exploded during the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Two people are confirmed dead and at least 23 injured after two explosions went off near the finish line to the marathon.
A runner sits near Kenmore Square after two bombs exploded during the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Two people are confirmed dead and at least 23 injured after two explosions went off near the finish line to the marathon.
A woman is helped from the scene near the finish line after two bombs exploded during the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Two people are confirmed dead and at least 28 injured after at least two explosions went off near the finish line to the marathon.
Boston Police stand near the scene of a twin bombing at the Boston Marathon, on April 16, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Three people are confirmed dead and at least 141 injured after the explosions went off near the finish line of the marathon.
Honor guards stand beside a wreath at the site of one of the two bomb blasts on the one-year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings in Boston, Massachusetts, April 15, 2014. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT ATHLETICS DISASTER ANNIVERSARY)
A Boston Marathon bombing survivor receives a hug next to the site of the first bomb explosion on Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts in this April 24, 2013 file photo. Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013, when two Chechen brothers allegedly planted pressure-cooker bombs near the race's finish line, killing three people and wounded more than 260. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
A member of the bomb squad inspects the scene after a controlled detonation at the finish line of the Boston Marathon (AP)
Flowers lie on the sidewalk at the site of the first explosion as people walk along Boylston Street after the street reopened to the public for the first time since the Boston Marathon bombings in Boston, Massachusetts in this April 24, 2013 file photo. Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013, when two Chechen brothers allegedly planted pressure-cooker bombs near the race's finish line, killing three people and wounded more than 260. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi
A peace sign is seen on a message tree as visitors look at artefacts in a public exhibition of objects and mementos left at the makeshift memorials that emerged in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombings in Boston, Massachusetts, April 7, 2014. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter
Pedestrians pass by blue and yellow banners near the site of one of the two bomb blasts on the one-year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings in Boston
Kevin Brown puts up a hand made memorial for victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings near the race's finish line in Boston
Protesters stand outside federal court in Boston where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be formally sentenced. (AP)

Authorities today said they had arrested the son of a Boston police captain who was building bombs in his apartment and planned to attack a crowded university campus cafeteria on behalf of the Islamic State militant group.

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Alexander Ciccolo, 23, was arrested on July 4 for the unlawful receipt of multiple guns, the U.S. Justice Department said in a news release. His indictment was unsealed on Monday. The college he intended to target was not disclosed.

Ciccolo has received mental health treatment since childhood, according to sources familiar with the family. His father recently alerted authorities to his concerns about his son's activities, the sources said.

FBI agents put Ciccolo under surveillance after being alerted to some of his posts on social media. They watched him buy at least one pressure cooker at a Wal Mart store in North Adams, Massachusetts, according to an affidavit by FBI Special Agent Paul Ambrogio.

Pressure-cooker bombs were used in the attacks on the Boston Marathon in 2013, killing three and injuring 264 people. Ciccolo is accused of being a supporter of Islamic State.

Read more: Boston bomber apologises to victims: 'I am sorry for the lives I have taken... for the suffering that I have caused you'

Last month, officers in Boston shot Usaamah Abdullah Rahim, whom they suspected of planning to behead police officers on behalf of Islamic State. Rahim, a 26-year-old security guard, threatened officers with a large knife and was shot and killed after ignoring orders to drop the weapon, according to court papers filed by the FBI.

"Lone wolf" militants pose a bigger risk to the United States than a large-scale operation, President Barack Obama and U.S. authorities have said.

Ciccolo told an informant he wanted to build bombs similar to the ones used in the attack on the marathon, according to the affidavit. Authorities said they found partially built bombs in his apartment.

Read more: Boston bomber given death sentence for attack on marathon

"These incendiary devices contained what appeared to be shredded Styrofoam soaking in motor oil," Ambrogio said in his affidavit. Ciccolo allegedly said the Styrofoam would cause the fire from the bombs to stick to people's skin, according to the affidavit.

Ciccolo was arrested after taking delivery of two Glock handguns, a Colt AR-15 rifle and a SigArms high-powered rifle, authorities said.

While at the Franklin County House of Correction, Ciccolo is accused of injuring a nurse by stabbing her in the head with a pen.

It was not known whether Ciccolo had an attorney.

Reuters

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