Somali teen arrested for attempted Christmas Tree bombing

Christmas Tree

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, the Christmas tree bomber, faces 25 years to life in prison. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

A Somali-born teenager, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, has been arrested for allegedly trying to bomb a Christmas tree lighting event in Portland, Ore. Mahomud, 19, is a naturalized citizen of the United States. He was discovered by the FBI, who arrested him in a sting operation.

Christmas tree bombing suspect stung by FBI

Mohamed Osman Mohamud was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for allegedly attempting to set off a large explosive device at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Ore. Mohamud e-mailed a friend living in Pakistan who had previously attended Oregon State University with Mohamud and asked about joining a jihad, according to CBS. The friend he sent messages to, located in the northern regions of Pakistan, gave him a non-functioning e-mail address of an associate. As Mohamud tried to contact the associate, the Bureau began profiling and following him. They contacted him, telling him they would send help and assemble a bomb for him. Mohamud was given a totally inert device. He and an undercover agent went to the lighting ceremony with the inert device parked in a van on Friday.

The sting

The plan was to park the van with explosive materials at the Pioneer Courthouse Square, according to CNN. As Mohamud tried to detonate the device, dubbed the Christmas tree bomb by the press, by phone several blocks away, he was told he needed to step outside to get better reception. He was swarmed by Federal agents who took him into custody, and he was arraigned before a federal jury on Monday. He faces a single count of attempting to detonate a weapon of mass destruction, the penalty for which is 25 years to life in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.

Suspect had planned it for years

Mohamud allegedly had planned to set off an explosive device for years. The “Christmas tree bomber,” along with other would-be bombers such as Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber, continue to be foiled by the FBI.




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