Two New Jersey men suspected of terrorist activities were arrested as they tried to fly out of New York's Kennedy Airport this past weekend.
Mohamed Mahmood Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte were arrested Saturday before they could board separate flights to Egypt and then continue on to Somalia, says an AP report. They are the latest of several U.S. Muslims accused of joining or trying to join terrorist groups, radicalized with help from fellow Americans preaching violent jihad over the Internet, says the report. Officials allegedly recorded Alessa and Almonte talking about attacking Americans. Alessa allegedly said he would outdo Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, last year.
Law enforcement became aware of the men in the fall of 2006, after receiving a tip. Since then, during the lengthy investigation, the undercover officer recorded conversations with the men in which they spoke about jihad against Americans, the report says.
Alessa, of North Bergen, and Almonte, of Elmwood Park, are American citizens. Alessa was born in the United States and is of Palestinian descent. Almonte is a naturalized citizen who was born in the Dominican Republic. They are accused of trying to join al-Shabab, which was designated by the U.S. as a terrorist group in 2008.
Both men face charges of conspiring to kill, maim, and kidnap persons outside the United States by joining al-Shabab. Teams of state and federal law enforcement agents who have been investigating the men took them into custody, the report says.