On Thursday, The New York Times reported that two women were arrested for allegedly planning an ISIS-inspired bombing in New York City. The criminal complaint filed against the women was unsealed on Thursday, and they were expected to appear before a federal court in Brooklyn the same day. According to the complaint, the women were interested in ISIS and had allegedly been researching and acquiring bomb materials for the past few years.
Named in the complaint, Noelle Velentzas, 28, and Asia Siddiqui, 31, were roommates in Queens and are both American citizens. According to the complaint, the women were allegedly interested in jihad, having contacted personnel from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and watched violent ISIS videos online. The government says in the complaint that Velentzas and Siddiqui began buying bomb materials, including four propane gas tanks and potassium gluconate, storing them at their Queens apartment.
An undercover cop started investigating Velentzas and Siddiqui in 2013, the complaint says, regularly meeting with them by mid-2014, after the FBI questioned the women at LaGuardia Airport. The undercover officer, pretending to be involved in the bomb plot, documented incriminating conversations between the women about their alleged plan in the complaint and alleged that Velentzas wanted to attack "military or government targets, rather than civilian targets," the complaint says.
Following the funeral of NYPD officer Rafael Ramos, Velentzas reportedly expressed interest in carrying out the attack at a police funeral, according to the complaint.
Both women had allegedly been studying bomb-making techniques. In November 2014, they allegedly bought potassium gluconate at a pharmacy in Queens and then drove to Home Depot and looked at "copper wires, paint containers with the word ‘combustible,’ small and large metal pipes, a bag of sodium chloride, and heater fluid containers," according to the complaint. According to The New York Times, despite becoming suspicious of the undercover cop and looking up "how to spot undercover police," Velentzas continued to confide in the officer about the plan, including debating the use of nitroglycerin versus potassium chloride.
Velentzas appeared to have a grim view of her future. In a conversation recorded in February, according to the complaint, she says:
I might get old here and be able to put a lot of people onto wisdom and reason, or I’m going to be in solitary confinement, and get raped or tortured, or I’m going to be killed in the street. That is your future in America.
There are less details available about Velentzas' partner, Siddiqui, but both women were charged with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction in the U.S. and were scheduled to appear in court Thursday afternoon. The women's pleas have not yet been reported, nor has a statement from either of them been released.
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