(CHICAGO) — An 18-year-old man was arrested by undercover FBI agents after he allegedly tried to detonate what he believed to be a car bomb outside a bar in downtown Chicago, prosecutors said Saturday.
Adel Daoud, a U.S. citizen from Hillside, Ill., was taken into custody Friday evening after he allegedly tried to set off a phony car bomb given to him by an undercover FBI agent posing as a terrorist.
Officials are not releasing the name of the downtown Chicago bar that was allegedly targeted by Daoud, but said the bar was never in any danger.
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.
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 an 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 kept a close watch on a target for the attack, which would be carried out with an explosive device provided by the undercover agent he met with, according to the affidavit.
At 7:15 p.m. on Friday, the teen and the agent drove to their target in downtown Chicago. During the car ride, Daoud 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 faces charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to damage and destroy a building by means of an explosive.
The teen had an initial court appearance Saturday. A detention and preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday at 3 p.m. in federal court.
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