DALLAS — Federal agents arrested a Jordanian teenager Thursday suspected of trying to blow up the 60-story Fountain Place building in downtown Dallas.
Undercover agents with the FBI tricked Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, 19, into thinking he was detonating a bomb placed in an SUV parked under the skyscraper before they arrested him, according to court documents. The detonating device was inert, the Justice Department said in a news release.
"The identification and apprehension of this defendant, who was acting alone, is a sobering reminder that there are people among us who want to do us grave harm," U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks said in the news release.
Undercover agents met with Smadi at least 10 times and talked to him at least 40 times while he hatched his plot to commit jihad, or holy war, against the "Romans (Christians) and Jews," an arrest warrant affidavit says. The FBI said Smadi was in the country illegally and lived and worked in Italy, about 45 minutes south of Dallas.
Federal agents said that they discovered Smadi within a group of online terrorists and that he stood out because of his willingness to conduct terrorist attacks.
"This is not related to any other investigation," said Mark White, an FBI spokesman. "This is a stand-alone terrorist."
There are ongoing investigations into other possible terrorism plots in New York and Colorado.
"This just goes to show that this type of thing can happen anywhere," said Danny Defenbaugh, a Dallas security consultant and former FBI agent. "That's why everyone has to remain aware and diligent."
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