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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Antonio Martinez aka Muhammad Hussain Charged With Attempted Murder: Jihadist

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Jihad Suspect Held In Alleged Lot To Bomb U.S. Military Office

A 21-year-old construction worker who had recently converted to Islam and told an FBI informant he thought about nothing but jihad was arrested Wednesday when he tried to detonate what he thought was a bomb at a military recruitment center, authorities said.

Antonio Martinez, also known as Muhammad Hussain, faces charges of attempted murder of federal officers and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, according to court documents.

The bomb he is accused of trying to detonate at the center in Catonsville, Md., was fake and had been provided by an undercover FBI agent.

"There was no actual danger to the public as the explosives were inert and the suspect had been carefully monitored by law enforcement for months," the U.S. Attorney's Office for Maryland said in a statement.

Martinez allegedly drove an SUV with the dummy bomb to the recruiting center and parked outside the building. When he attempted to detonate the device, he was arrested.

At a hearing Wednesday afternoon, Martinez was ordered held without bond until another hearing Monday.

Martinez told the judge he could not afford an attorney. He said he works in construction, is married and understood the charges against him.

Court documents say Martinez posted statements on his Facebook page in late September that attracted the attention of a confidential law enforcement source. "Any 1 who opposes ALLAH and HIS Prophet, PEACE Be upon Him, I hate you with all my heart," it said.

In October, the documents say, Martinez told the source that "all he thinks about is jihad" and that he was hoping to attack Army recruiting centers.

The court documents say he at first thought about getting a gun and firing shots. By late October, Martinez allegedly was talking about building a bomb using propane tanks but had no idea how to build one.

From October to November, the documents say, Martinez approached three people he thought might help, but all turned him down. Law enforcement officials describe the three as "buddies" of Martinez and say they considered him to be unstable.

In mid-November, an FBI undercover agent posing as an Afghani sympathetic to jihad approached Martinez, who allegedly asked him if he knew "how to do something with propane" and that the agent told him it would not take much to make a powerful car bomb.

The two drove to the recruiting center early Wednesday with what Martinez thought was a real bomb, officials said. He was arrested after he tried to set it off. The Armed Forces Career Center, located in a shopping center, houses Army, Air Force and Marine Corps recruiters.

The documents say Martinez had a crisis after learning of the undercover operation in Portland, Ore., that resulted in the arrest of a man there in an FBI sting , and feared he might be ensnared in a similar sting. But he decided to go ahead with his plot anyway, the documents say.

Authorities said there is no evidence the man is tied to the recent shootings at military recruiting centers in the Washington, D.C. metro area. An unknown person shot at military buildings at least five times between Oct. 16 and Nov. 2. No one was injured in the shootings.

White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said the arrest underscores the need for vigilance against terrorism and illustrates why the Obama administration is focused on addressing "domestic radicalization."

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Sources: Facebook, Fox News, MSNBC, Google Maps

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