Man ‘plotted bloodbath at Capitol’

Published: Thursday 15th January 2015 by The News Editor

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A man accused of plotting to attack the US Congress building and kill staff inside has been arrested by the FBI in an undercover operation.

A criminal complaint filed in US District Court in Ohio charges Christopher Cornell with attempting to kill officers and employees of the United States.

Cornell, 20, also known as Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah, was arrested as he took control of a firearm during an undercover FBI operation in Ohio, the agency said. The public was never in danger in the investigation, said John Barrios, acting special agent in charge of the FBI’s Cincinnati division.

According to the court complaint, an FBI informant began supplying agents with information about Cornell last year. The informant and Cornell first began communicating through Twitter in August and then through an instant messaging platform separate from the social messaging site.

“I believe we should meet up and make our own group in alliance with the Islamic State here and plan operations ourselves,” Cornell wrote in an instant message, according to the court document.

The Islamic State militant organisation, which broke with the al Qaida network and took control of large parts of Iraq and Syria, has drawn jihadi fighters from across the Muslim world and Europe. It has been blamed for violence such as the beheadings of foreign captives.

The two met in person in October in Cincinnati and again in November, the complaint states. Cornell told the informant at the November meeting that he considered members of Congress enemies and that he intended to conduct an attack on the Capitol, according to the complaint.

The document says Cornell discussed his plan for them to travel to Washington and conduct reconnaissance of the security of government buildings including the Capitol before executing “a plan of attack”.

Cornell planned for the two to detonate pipe bombs at and near the Capitol and then shoot and kill employees and officials and Cornell had saved money to fund the attack, according to the complaint.

He was arrested after buying two semi-automatic rifles and about 600 rounds of ammunition, authorities said.

On Tuesday authorities revealed an Ohio barman had been charged with threatening to kill House of Representatives speaker John Boehner at a country club near his home.

Mr Boehner, a Republican, returned to the Capitol yesterday without commenting to reporters, but a Boehner spokesman, Michael Steel, said, “Once again, the entire Congress owes a debt of gratitude to the FBI and all those who keep us safe.”

Published: Thursday 15th January 2015 by The News Editor

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