New York: Two young American men, who were
headed to Somalia to join an al qaeda-linked jihadist group
and planned to attack American soldiers in that country, were
arrested at an airport here before boarding flights to Egypt.
The duo -- Mohamed Hamoud Alessa, 20, of North Bergen,
and Carlos Eduardo Almonte, 24, of Elmwood Park -- had the
intention of training with the extremist group al Shabaab and
then attack American troops in Somalia, the feds claimed.
They were, however, not planning an attack in New York
or New Jersey.
The New Jersey men were planning to board separate
flights to Egypt, with an intention of ultimately travelling
"Two individuals were arrested at JFK in connection
with an ongoing investigation. At this time, we can provide no
further details because the investigation is ongoing. The
arrests do not relate to an immediate threat," said Jose
Lozano, a spokesman for the state Office of Homeland Security
They have been charged with conspiring to commit an
act of international terrorism and will appear in a New Jersey
district court on Monday.
The extremist group, al Shabaab, is fighting the
Western-backed Transitional Federal Government in Somalia and
controls large swathes of territory.
This arrest comes a month after an American citizen of
Pakistani-origin, Faisal Shahzad, attempted to detonate a car
bomb in Times Square on May 1.
Before that, on Christmas Day, a Nigerian man Umar
Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to blow up a Detroit-bound
The New Jersey based newspaper, Star Ledger, which
broke the story reported that shortly after 10:30 p m
yesterday, FBI agents sealed off Alessa`s street in North
After that the local police, FBI and NYPD switched on
all the lights and began to thoroughly search the house, which
stands in a row of middle-class homes.
Similar action was being taken just over 10 miles
away, in Elmwood Park where dozens of police cars arrived at
Almonte`s home about 11 pm.
The agents again turned on all the lights and all
searched the outside of the house with searchlights.
Ledger said that a couple who appeared to be family
members showed up around 11:30 and greeted the agents as if
they knew them.
The older man was escorted into the house and could be
seen embracing one of the FBI agents in the kitchen.