FBI arrests man in New York as part of terrorism probe

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 17, 2015 1:52 PM

By Nate Raymond and Joseph Ax

NEW YORK (Reuters) - FBI agents in New York on Wednesday arrested a man in the borough of Staten Island as part of a larger terrorism-related investigation, an FBI spokeswoman said.

The arrest by the Federal Bureau of Investigation came a day after U.S. officials accused a New York college student of plotting to set off a pressure-cooker bomb in support of the Islamic State militant group.

The spokeswoman, Kelly Langmesser, declined to identify the man arrested on Wednesday or comment on media reports that he became violent. She said no serious injuries were reported in the incident.

Munther Omar Saleh, 20, was arrested last Saturday after he and another man got out of their car and ran toward a surveillance vehicle that had been tracking their movements, according to a complaint filed in federal court in Brooklyn.

The other man, who was also arrested, was not named in the court documents.

The New York Daily News reported the arrest on Wednesday was connected to the case. The complaint filed against Saleh had mentioned a third unnamed co-conspirator.

According to the complaint, Saleh, a resident of the borough of Queens, spent hours online researching how to build a pressure-cooker bomb and reading accounts of the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

In online postings, Saleh expressed support for the Islamic State and at one point posted on Twitter, "I fear AQ could be getting too moderate," according to the complaint, in an apparent reference to the militant group Al Qaeda.

A police officer observed Saleh on successive days in March on foot at the George Washington Bridge, which connects New Jersey and New York, seemingly looking around, the complaint said.

The behavior prompted members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York to interview Saleh, who denied sympathizing with Islamic State and granted them permission to examine his computer, which contained Islamic State propaganda, the complaint said.

Saleh is studying at a college that specializes in aeronautics, according to the court papers.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn, which is prosecuting the case, declined to comment.

(Additional reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Scott Malone and Jeffrey Benkoe)