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'Lone wolf' New Yorker accused of building bomb to attack his city

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Terror suspect arraigned in NY

Raw vision: Jose Pimentel appears in court for charges of plotting to bomb various New York city locations, targeting US troops returning home.

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A Manhattan resident has been arrested on suspicion of plotting to bomb various targets in New York City, US officials say.

Jose Pimentel, 27, of Washington Heights in Manhattan, was described as a "lone wolf" who bought bomb-making materials and had begun to build them, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a press conference this morning.

He talked about changing his name to Osama Hussein, to celebrate his heroes, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein 

Police constructed a duplicate of the bomb and showed a video of its detonation on a television screen at the press conference.

Jose Pimentel clips matches in this photo released  by  New York officials, who say he was  trying to build a pipe bomb with instructions from an al Qaeda magazine.

Jose Pimentel clips matches in this photo released by New York officials, who say he was trying to build a pipe bomb with instructions from an al Qaeda magazine. Photo: Reuters

Possible targets included US troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, police cars, post offices and a police station, Mr Bloomberg said.

'Anwar al-Awlaki follower'

Mr Pimentel, also known as Muhammad Yusuf, was a follower of radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a US raid this year, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

Pieces of a replica bomb created by Jose Pimentel  were on display at  a news conference at City Hall.

Pieces of a replica bomb created by Jose Pimentel were on display at a news conference at City Hall. Photo: Reuters

"He talked about changing his name to Osama Hussein, to celebrate his heroes, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein," Mr Kelly said.

"We think what set him off was the elimination of Anwar al-Awlaki," he added.

Awlaqi was suspected of being involved in several attacks on the US and of recruiting Americans for his cause.

Mr Kelly said that Mr Pimentel "planned to test the effectiveness of the bombs by planting them in mailboxes and detonating them".

Once beginning his bombing campaign, Mr Pimental hoped the US public "would know that there were mujahideen in the city", Mr Kelly said.

Mr Pimentel learnt to build bombs from Inspire, an online magazine believed to be published by terrorist organisation al-Qaeda, particularly from an article, How to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mum, he said.

'Lone wolf'

Mr Bloomberg said Mr Pimentel was a "lone wolf" and a US citizen from the Dominican Republic, who was motivated by his resentment of the presence of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"He was not part of a larger conspiracy emanating from abroad," Mr Bloomberg said.

He said this case was the 14th such attack planned for New York City since September 11, 2011.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance jnr said "home-grown terrorists" were "one of the faces of terrorism that we are now facing".

"The threats against us change constantly," he added.

Mr Pimentel had been under surveillance since 2009, Mr Kelly said.

The New York Police Department's Intelligence Division was involved in the arrest, The Associated Press added.

Terrorism charges

When he was arrested, Mr Pimentel was accused of having an explosive substance that he planned to use against others and property to terrorise the public.

The charges accuse him of conspiracy going back at least to October last year, and include first-degree criminal possession of a weapon as a crime of terrorism, and soliciting support for a terrorist act.

He was to be arraigned on Sunday local time.

Agencies with smh.com.au

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