Manhattan Man Charged With Plotting to Detonate Bombs Was Inspired by Al-Awlaki

A Manhattan man arrested on charges of plotting to build and detonate bombs in New York had become fascinated by the American-born militant Anwar al-Awlaki during the course of his radicalization, The New York Times is reporting.

The Southern Poverty Law Center profiled al-Awlaki in the Fall 2011 issue of the Intelligence Report, which noted that, “many homegrown extremists arrested on terrorism charges are known to have frequented extremist websites early in the radicalization process.”

That now seems to be the case with Jose Pimentel, who began to plot the bomb attack in August, expediting his plans after al-Awlaki was killed in a drone strike in Yemen last September.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said Pimentel, 27, had been under police surveillance over the last two years and had come close to completing three bombs. According to a law enforcement official speaking to The Times on the condition of anonymity, “holes had been drilled into pipes, sulfur had been scraped off matches, nails were ready to be used as shrapnel, and wires were used to fashion an ignition device.”