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Chicago man arrested for attempting to bomb crowded street
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (BNO NEWS) – A Chicago, Illinois man was arrested on early Sunday for attempting to set off explosives in a crowded street, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Chicago announced on Monday.
Sami Samir Hassoun, 22, was arrested after Saturday midnight immediately after placing a backpack which he thought contained an explosive device into a trash can near a crowded street corner.
The arrest stemmed from an investigation conducted by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). Hassoun was charged with one count each of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted use of an explosive device.
Hassoun, a Lebanese citizen and permanent resident alien, expressed to an associate his desire to commit acts of violence in the city for both monetary gain and to cause political transformation in Chicago. His associate was secretly cooperating with the FBI and assisted with the investigation on the threats.
In June, Hassoun and the cooperating witness discussed possible targets and plots, including a biological attack on the city, poisoning Lake Michigan, attacking police officers, bombing the Sears Tower, and assassinating the mayor.
Hassoun ultimately decided to detonate an explosive device in the Wrigleyville are of Chicago. He planned to cause the blast on a weekend night in order to inflict maximum damage. After that, an undercover agent was introduced to the plotter by his cooperating associate in July.
The agent told the suspect that he had access to explosives as well as having the expertise to construct explosive devices that he could use in his plot. Hassoun discussed with the agent possible scenarios and plots in their subsequent meetings.
On Saturday night, Hassoun met with the agent who provided him with a backpack that he thought contained a high powered explosive device. The undercover agent showed him how to operate the device. The explosive device was made of inert materials and was incapable of detonating even though it was designed by the FBI to look authentic.
Both men left in a rented car and headed towards Wrigleyville. Hassoun was under constant surveillance and agents watched as he placed the fake explosive device into a trash receptacle, after which he was arrested and the fake device recovered.
The complaint alleges that the suspect's motivation for planning this violent attack was a combination of his personal greed and political motivation.
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