NYC: Munther Omar Saleh, Fareed Mumuni plead guilty in pressure cooker bomb scheme for Islamic State
Two New York City men have pleaded guilty to federal charges that they plotted a pressure-cooker bomb attack in the city on behalf of the Islamic State, prosecutors said on Friday.
The men, Munther Omar Saleh, 21, of Queens, and Fareed Mumuni, 22, of Staten Island, were arrested in 2015.
Saleh schemed to attack law enforcement and was arrested, armed with knives and charging at the federal officer tailing him. Likewise, Mumuni was charged with attempting to fatally stab an FBI agent with a kitchen knife.
The pair were linked to and in contact with “attack facilitator” Junaid Hussain, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Solomon.
Saleh, a former college student from Queens, said Friday he spoke with others about traveling to join ISIS. He said he got hiking boots for a co-conspirator trying to get to Syria, and passed along contact information for someone he thought was an ISIS recruiter. The group of terror wannabes included several New Jersey men.
They were coordinating to create a pressure cooker bomb, similar to the one used in the Boston Marathon bombing.
A police officer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey saw Saleh walking on and looking around the George Washington Bridge on two consecutive days. The authorities said he was also seen visiting a spy store in Queens and he later searched online for disguises.
Saleh was studying electrical circuitry at a college in Queens at the time of his arrest. A criminal complaint said he had translated Islamic State propaganda into English and criticized Al Qaeda as being “too moderate.”
Both Saleh and Mumuni are scheduled for May 16 sentencing. Saleh faces up to 53 years and Mumuni could get a maximum 85 years.
“In the name of ISIL’s false and hateful ideology, these defendants attacked the law enforcement officers who work tirelessly to preserve the safety of our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Capers.