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Washington Heights Man Arrested on Terrorism Charges

November 13, 2012

Terror Suspect Jose Pimentel (NYPD/DNAinfo)

Read this on The Uptowner

A Washington Heights man was arrested yesterday on terrorism charges. Jose Pimentel, 27, was charged with plotting to detonate bombs in New York, targeting police patrol cars and post offices in upper Manhattan and U.S. armed forces members returning from abroad, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced Sunday evening.

Under surveillance since 2009, Pimentel was arrested in his West 147th Street apartment at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday when police feared that a device might soon explode.  “We thought it was best to act quickly and take him into custody,” Kelly said at a news conference. Pimentel had also been living on West 137th Street with his mother and uncle, according to DNAinfo.com, but was allegedly assembling the bombs at the other apartment.

Pimentel, who also used the name Muhammad Yusuf, was an unemployed “lone wolf” who harbored an anti-American grudge but acted alone, Bloomberg said. He represents “the exact kind of threat FBI Director Robert Mueller warned about, as American military and intelligence agencies have eroded Al Quaeda’s ability to launch large-scale attacks,” said the mayor.

A follower of radical cleric Anwar al-Awalki, Pimentel began his plot in August but became more energized after al-Awalki’s death in a U.S. airstrike in Yemen in September, the commissioner said. “Based on statements of people who observed him, his actions became a lot more intense after September 30th,” making his friends “nervous,” Kelly said.

On his website TrueIslam1, Pimentel identified himself with terrorist organizations and radical jihadism, Bloomberg said. A search of the website shows links to articles titled “Why Allah Decrees Wars and Catastrophes” and “Make A Bomb in The Kitchen of Your Mom’s Home.”

Pimentel learnt to build bombs from “Inspire,” Al-Qaeda’s online magazine, and planned to test their effectiveness “by planting them in mailboxes and detonating them,” Kelly said. Buying the necessary ingredients from Home Depot and other stores, Pimentel made sure not to buy too many purchases at once or in one store, Kelly said, to “avoid raising red flags.”

Pimentel said that once his campaign began, “the public would know there were mujahidin in the city ready to wage jihad,” Kelly reported.

Mayor Bloomberg said the arrest “protected us from something that could have killed a lot of people,”

A native of the Dominican Republic and a United States citizen, Pimentel spent most of his life in Manhattan, but had recently returned from Schenectady, New York, where he lived with his wife from whom he is now separated or divorced, said Kelly.

This is the 14th attempted terrorist attack in New York since 2001, Bloomberg said.  The city keeps 1000 police officers working on counterterrorism daily.

Calling New York “an iconic city,” the mayor went on to describe it as “a city that people would want to take away our freedoms gravitate to and focus on.”

Pimentel, charged under state laws, faces 15 years to life in prison if he’s found guilty, with a maximum sentence of 25 years to life, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

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