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Three Americans, including two women, charged in terror-related cases

world Updated: Apr 03, 2015 13:46 IST

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Raising fears over the growing threat of homegrown extremism, three Americans, including two women, have been charged in separate cases of plotting terror strikes on US soil using "weapons of mass destruction" and of travelling to Pakistan to fight against United States forces.

Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh (29) was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. The three appeared before US magistrate judge Viktor Pohorelsky of the eastern district of New York.

Noelle Velentzas (28) and Asia Siddiqui (31) former roommates in a Queens apartment influenced by the terror group ISIS, conspired to construct car and pressure cooker bombs to carry out strikes in the US.

He was detained in Pakistan and secretly flown to New York to face federal terrorism charges.

The charges against the three come just two weeks after as many men from Brooklyn were charged with conspiring to provide material support to the dreaded Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The complaint against Velentzas and Siddiqui said that in their self-proclaimed effort to "make history", they researched and acquired some of the components of a car bomb, like the one used in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a fertiliser bomb, like the one used in the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, and a pressure cooker bomb, like the one used in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

The investigation recently showed that the defendants possessed propane gas tanks together with instructions from an online jihadist publication for transforming propane tanks into explosive devices.

During meetings with an undercover federal agent, Siddiqui said that Velentzas "has been obsessed with pressure cookers since the Boston Marathon attacks in 2013 and often makes comments about pressure cookers."

Farekh conspired with others to provide personnel to be used in support of efforts to kill American citizens and members of the US military abroad.

In approximately 2007, Farekh, an individual named Ferid Imam and a third co-conspirator departed Canada for Pakistan with the intention of fighting against American forces.

They did not inform their families of their plan before departing, but called a friend in Canada telling him that he should not expect to hear from them again because they intended to become martyrs.