Arrested Somali teen spent six months setting up sting operation: FBI

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Portland (Oregon, US), Nov.28 (ANI): Federal agents have said that the Somali teenager they arrested on Friday while he was trying to detonate a car bomb at a packed annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony downtown, had spent nearly six months setting up the sting operation.

The threat posed by Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was real claimed F.B.I. agents, who said the bomb, which was in a van parked off Pioneer Courthouse Square, was a fake.

An estimated 10,000 people were at the ceremony on Friday night, the Portland police said.

Mohamud is a naturalized American citizen who graduated from Westview High School in Beaverton, Oregon, a Portland suburb, and had been taking classes at Oregon State in Corvallis until October 6, the New York Times quoted the university, as saying on Saturday.

Mohamud was charged with trying to use a weapon of mass destruction.

"Our investigation shows that Mohamud was absolutely committed to carrying out an attack on a very grand scale," said a FBI official.

The terrorism attempt was the latest is a string of plots since last year involving Americans or immigrants who had become radicalized, often through exposure to extremist Web sites.

In May, a Pakistani-born American was arrested in the plotting of a car bomb attack in Times Square, and later pleaded guilty.

Mohamud was arrested 20 minutes before the tree-lighting ceremony started. As he was taken into custody, he kicked and screamed at the agents and yelled "Allahu akbar," an Arabic phrase meaning "God is great," the authorities said.

Federal agents said Mr. Mohamud thought Portland would be a good target because Americans "don't see it as a place where anything will happen." (ANI)

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