Noelle Velentzas, roommate of Siddiqui, also charged.
NEW YORK: Two women who were roommates in Queens, New York, Noelle Velentzas and Asia Siddiqui, have been charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction in the United States.
The defendants have repeatedly expressed their support for violent jihad, according to the Justice Department.
In or about 2009, Siddiqui, a Pakistani American, published a poem in a magazine published by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula that exhorted readers to wage jihad and declared that there is “[n]o excuse to sit back and wait – for the skies rain martyrdom.”
Siddiqui also “became close” with Samir Khan in 2006, while he was living in the US, say the documents. Khan later became the editor of Inspire magazine, the Al-Qaeda magazine. He was killed in a drone strike in Yemen, in 2011.
More recently, Velentzas, who has characterized al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden as one of her heroes, and had his picture on her cellphone, declared that she and Siddiqui are “citizens of the Islamic State” – a reference to the foreign terrorist organization that is also known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Less than two weeks ago, Velentzas, asked whether she had heard the news about the recent arrest of a former U.S. airman who had attempted to travel to Syria to wage jihad and stated that she did not understand why people were traveling overseas to engage in jihad when there were more opportunities of “pleasing Allah” in the United States.
Since at least August 2014, the defendants have allegedly plotted to construct an explosive device for use in a terrorist attack on American soil, say the charges. In their self-proclaimed effort to “make history,” the defendants researched numerous explosive precursors. For instance, they researched and acquired some of the components of a car bomb, like the one used in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; a fertilizer bomb, like the one used in the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City; and a pressure cooker bomb, like the one used in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
The investigation recently revealed that the defendants possessed propane gas tanks together with instructions from an online jihadist publication for transforming propane tanks into explosive devices.
“These defendants allegedly engaged in sustained efforts to obtain bomb-making instructions and materials, including using instructions provided by al-Qaeda’s online magazine,” said NYPD Police Commissioner William J. Bratton.
If convicted, both defendants face life imprisonment.