Saturday, October 15, 2016

Three terrorists held over 'bomb plot' targeting Somalis in Kansas

(Sky News)- Three members of a Kansas "militia" have been charged over an alleged plot to bomb an apartment building which is home to 120 Somali immigrants.

The thwarted attack in the town of Garden City was apparently planned for the day after the US presidential election next month.

Curtis Wayne Allen, 49, Patrick Eugene Stein, 47, and Gavin Wayne Wright, 49, will appear in court on Monday charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction.

According to an affidavit, the men are said to be members of a militia group that calls itself "the Crusaders", whose members support and espouse sovereign citizen, anti-government, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant extremist beliefs.

They ultimately decided to target the apartment complex because of the number of Somalis who lived there and the fact that one of the apartments was used as a mosque, the affidavit said.

The FBI began a domestic terrorism investigation of the group in February, and a confidential source attended its meetings in southwestern Kansas.

The men, who were arrested on Friday morning, performed surveillance of the apartment building and prepared a manifesto, Mr Beall said.

Garden City Mayor Chris Law said in a statement that he was shocked by the alleged attack, adding, "Today should also serve as a reminder that vigilance should be a common practice by all citizens."

The arrests have prompted the Council on American-Islamic Relations to call on state and federal law enforcement agencies to increase protection for mosques and other Islamic institutions.

The group also cited reports of threats against a Muslim centre in Michigan and anti-Muslim graffiti at a New Jersey mosque.

"We ask our nation's political leaders, and particularly political candidates, to reject the growing Islamophobia in our nation," Nihad Awad, the group's national executive director, said in a statement.