NEW YORK - (AP) - An "al-Qaida sympathizer" who plotted to bombpolice and post offices in New York City as well as U.S. troopsreturning home has been arrested on numerous terrorism-relatedcharges, city officials said Sunday.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced at a news conference theSaturday arrest of Jose Pimentel of Manhattan, "a 27-year-oldal-Qaida sympathizer" who the mayor said was motivated byterrorist propaganda and resentment of U.S. troops in Afghanistanand Iraq.
Bloomberg said at least 14 terrorist plots, including thecurrent case, have been devised targeting New York City since theSept. 11 terrorist attacks 10 years ago. Police CommissionerRaymond Kelly said police had to move quickly Saturday becausePimentel was ready to carry out his plan.
"We had to act quickly yesterday because he was in fact puttingthis bomb together. He was drilling holes and it would have beennot appropriate for us to let him walk out the door with thatbomb," Kelly said.
The mayor said Pimentel, a U.S. citizen originally from theDominican Republic, was "plotting to bomb police patrol cars andalso postal facilities as well as targeted members of our armedservices returning from abroad."
He was under surveillance by New York police for at least a yearwho were working with a confidential informant and was in theprocess of building a bomb; no injury to anyone or damage toproperty is alleged, Kelly said. In addition, authorities have noevidence that Pimentel was working with anyone else, the mayorsaid.
"He appears to be a total lone wolf," the mayor said. "He wasnot part of a larger conspiracy emanating from abroad."
Instead, Bloomberg said, Pimentel represents the type of threatFBI Director Robert Mueller has warned about as U.S. forces erodethe ability of terrorists to carry out large scale attacks.
Pimentel, also known as Muhammad Yusuf, is accused of having anexplosive substance Saturday when he was arrested that he plannedto use against others and property to terrorize the public.
The charges accuse him of conspiracy going back at least toOctober 2010, and include first-degree criminal possession of aweapon as a crime of terrorism, and soliciting support for aterrorist act. He was to be arraigned later Sunday.
"This is just another example of New York City because we arean iconic city ... this is a city that people would want to takeaway our freedoms gravitate to and focus on," Bloomberg said.
Kelly said a confidential informant had numerous conversationswith Pimentel on Sept. 7 in which he expressed interest in buildingsmall bombs and targeting banks, government and police buildings.
Pimentel also posted on his website trueislam1.com and on blogshis support of al-Qaida and belief in jihad, and promoted an onlinemagazine article that described in detail how to make a bomb, Kellysaid.
Among his Internet postings, the commissioner said, was anarticle that states: "People have to understand that America andits allies are all legitimate targets in warfare."
The New York Police Department's Intelligence Division wasinvolved in the arrest. Kelly said Pimentel spent most of his yearsin Manhattan and lived about five years in Schenectady. He saidpolice in Albany tipped New York City police off to Pimentel'sactivities.
Asked why federal authorities were not involved in the case,Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said there wascommunication with them but his office felt that given the timeline"it was appropriate to proceed under state charges."