(CHICAGO) — The FBI has yet to name the Chicago bar that an 18-year-old suburban teen was allegedly trying to blow up with a car bomb, but one bar owner says his establishment was the target.
Mike Feirstein, the co-owner of Cal’s Bar and Liquors, told ABC News Monday that about 15 undercover agents wearing earpieces surrounded a vehicle outside his bar at 400 South Wells St. Friday evening. Bombing suspect Adel Daoud, who was arrested nearby, is expected to appear in federal court later today to face charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to damage and destroy a building with an explosive.
Officials said that the “car bomb” that Daoud allegedly parked on South Wells Street and tried to detonate was a fake, and that no one was in any danger.
Though Feirstein said he believed his bar was the target, the FBI has yet to officially name which bar the suspect was allegedly trying to destroy. A bar next door to Cal’s called Cactus includes an outdoor beer garden that is often full of people. On Friday at 8 p.m., there were about 20 people inside Cal’s, according to Feirstein, but more at Cactus.
The affidavit says Daoud settled on his unnamed target because it was a bar, a liquor store and a concert venue and would be filled with “the evilest people” on a weekend night. Cal’s was hosting musical performances from local bands on Friday.
Meanwhile, neighbors near Daoud’s suburban Chicago home are stunned at the allegations.
“I’ve sat and listened to him in conversations with my kids. It was never anything like, you know, we hate Americans or anything like that,” said neighbor Dorothy Leverson.
According to authorities, the undercover operation began in May when two undercover FBI agents contacted the teen in response to material he had allegedly posted online regarding violent jihad and the killing of Americans.
Investigators say Daoud made several postings on an internet forum, allegedly writing, “I hate the oppression of the USA and I would love to do something that would hurt it from the inside,” according to the criminal complaint.
From late May until mid-June, the undercover agents corresponded with Daoud. During those communications, he affirmed his interest in engaging in a violent jihad in the United States or abroad, according to the affidavit.
In June, one of the undercover agents introduced a purported cousin, who was identified as an operational terrorist living in New York, to Daoud.
During this time, Daoud allegedly made a list of 29 potential targets, including military recruiting centers, bars, malls and Chicago tourist attractions.
The 18-year-old researched and monitored a target for the attack, according to the affidavit, which would be carried out with an explosive device provided by an undercover agent.
At 7:15 p.m. on Friday, the teen and the agent drove to their target in downtown Chicago. During the car ride, Daoud allegedly led a prayer that the attack succeed, “kill many people” and “cause destruction,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
The pair entered a parking lot where the fake car bomb was set up inside of a Jeep. Daoud drove the Jeep out of the lot and parked it in front of the bar he had allegedly identified as his target, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Daoud and the agent walked to an alley one block away where the agent witnessed the 18-year-old press the triggering mechanism, attempting to detonate the device, prosecutors said. He was then taken into custody.
Daoud is expected to enter a plea at 3 p.m. today in federal court.
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