Thursday, September 24, 2009

Man arrested in alleged attempt to bomb Dallas skyscraper

06:36 PM CDT on Thursday, September 24, 2009 staff report
DALLAS - Police arrested a man after he allegedly placed an inactive car bomb near Fountain Place at 1445 Ross Avenue in downtown Dallas.

Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, a 19-year-old Jordanian citizen who has been living and working in Italy, Texas illegally, was charged with "attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction," authorities said.

Authorities said Smadi had been under FBI surveillance for some time after expressing "his desire to commit violent jihad" numerous times.

After learning of Smadi, undercover FBI agents were introduced to him as "sleeper cells," read a statement released by the United States Attorney's Office. During several months with the 19-year-old, authorities said they learned he had no connection to other terrorist organizations but was intent to sacrifice himself in violent Jihad despite efforts of agents to "reevaluate his interpretation of Jihad."

In June, Smadi allegedly listed a group of potential targets in the Dallas area. However, agents said in July he began to set his focus on the Wells Fargo Bank located inside Fountain Place.

Smadi planned on using a vehicle improvised explosive device (VBIED) to bomb Fountain Place at the end of Ramadan, which is September 20, authorities said. However, authorities said agents worked to ensure "the VBIED contained only an inert/inactive explosive device, which contained no explosive materials." The FBI said the public was never in danger.

With 60 floors, Fountain Place is the fifth tallest building in Dallas and the 15th tallest building in Texas. The building was designed by I.M. Pei and Partners and completed in 1986.

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