SMH @ these homegrown terrorists… Whatever he was smoking was definitely leading his a$$ astray!
A seething “al Qaeda sympathizer’’ who wanted to kill US military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan was busted in Harlem just one hour before his homemade pipe bomb would be operational, officials said last night.
Muslim convert José Pimentel, 27, also plotted to strike NYPD facilities and patrol cars and post offices near his Manhattan home, as well as police facilities in Bayonne, NJ, officials said.
Still, “he appears to be a total lone wolf,’’ the mayor added of Pimentel, who hoped at one point to change his name to Osama Hussein after his two “heroes,” Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, Bloomberg said.
“There is no evidence that he worked with anyone else.”
After his arrest, Pimentel confessed to building the bomb and insisted that “Islamic law obligated all true Muslims to wage war against the United States,” court papers show.
Disheveled and dressed in a black T-shirt and black pants at his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court last night, he was ordered held without bail.
Pimentel, also known as Muhammad Yusuf, planned to blow up his makeshift pipe bomb — which used Christmas lights as part of the ignition device — in a mailbox to test it before using another on human targets, authorities said.
The mayor played a video of a device made out of the same materials Pimentel allegedly used to construct his bomb. The footage showed what damage the device would have caused to a car — it exploded in flames, its doors and roof blown off.
Pimentel, who relatives said converted to Islam two years ago, last month bought an alarm clock from a 99-cent store in Manhattan to serve as a timing device, authorities said. He also bought elbow pipe joints, the Christmas lights and work gloves from a Home Depot on Exterior Street in The Bronx.
He planned to affix nails to the device to act as shrapnel, Kelly said.
A confidential informant, tailed by NYPD undercover officers, was with him when he went on his shopping excursions for the materials.
Authorities said they have video of Pimentel shaving off the heads of more than 700 wooden matches to be used in the explosive.
To avoid raising red flags, he was careful not to buy all his supplies at the same time, authorities said.
The suspect, described as unemployed and a frequent marijuana smoker, wanted to target GIs — including those returning home from overseas and family members meeting them — as revenge for US involvement in Iraq and Afgahanistan, sources told The Post.
“Once his bombing campaign began, Pimentel said, the public would know that there were mujahedeen in the city to fight jihad here,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
Pimentel — whom cops had been eyeing since May 2009 — accelerated his murderous plans in September after American-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a US drone strike in Yemen, Kelly said.
“We know in the past two years, he was reading a lot of jihadist information, he talked a lot of inflammatory rhetoric. But it appears . . . the death of al-Awlaki is what motivated him,” Kelly said.
Pimentel, who had expressed interest in traveling to the terrorist hotbed of Yemen, wrote to Awlaki but never heard back, Kelly said.
He also lived for five years in Schenectady, where he first caught the attention of law enforcement.
Pimentel’s wife left him after he began beating her because she refused to convert to Islam and he would force their child to watch jihadist videos, sources said.
He “made even some of his like-minded friends nervous” with his extremism, Kelly said.
Cops in Schenectady alerted NYPD officials to him.
Pimentel returned to the city from Schenectady amid his marital problems.
A US citizen originally from the Dominican Republic, Pimentel frequently read the al Qaeda online magazine Inspire and maintained his own site, linked to bomb-making instructions.
“Inspire him it did,” Vance said. “The bomb Pimentel is charged with building came straight from the pages of Inspire magazine.”
Pimentel was particularly enamored with a manual on Inspire, which is run by Awlaki’s group, titled “How to Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom,’’ officials said.
Pimentel used to live with his mother before she threw him out because he became a radical, prosecutor Brian Fields said. Pimentel now lives with his uncle on West 137th Street.
Severino said Pimentel “was calm” when “12 cops” came and arrested him Saturday afternoon.
His site, which he’s maintained since October 2010, also includes a reading list of books he considered “informative” for both Muslims and non-Muslims. It included “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown, “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu, the Bible and the Torah.
The blog has rantings, one of which is titled, “Why Usamah Ibn [sic] Laden is the Leader of the Believers,” court papers show.
“People have to understand that America and its allies are all legitimate targets in warfare,” he wrote.
He also allegedly bought manuals such as a 417-page instructional titled Organic Chemistry of Explosives and a 347-page Preparatory Manual of Explosives.
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Pimentel has been charged with conspiracy, first-degree criminal possession of a weapon as a crime of terrorism, and soliciting support for a terrorist act.
He has a prior felony arrest from 2004, described as minor, but it wasn’t immediately clear what the charge was.
Bloomberg said it was the 14th terror-attack plot targeting New York since 9/11.