FBI says man was part of Islamic State plot to bomb New York and tried to kill agent

FBI says a New York man tried to stab an agent, and was part of a plot to use a pressure-cooker bomb in NYC

A 21-year-old man attacked an FBI agent with a kitchen knife while he was being arrested for his alleged role in a plot to detonate a bomb in New York City on behalf of Islamic State, according to court filings made public Wednesday.

Fareed Mumuni lunged at an agent and stabbed at him several times before being arrested at his family's Staten Island home shortly before 7 a.m., according to a criminal complaint.

Mumuni was allegedly involved in a plot with 20-year-old Munther Omar Saleh to build a pressure-cooker bomb, similar to the ones used at the Boston Marathon two years ago, and to detonate the device at a New York landmark, according to criminal complaints filed against both men.

Saleh was arrested June 13 after he and an unidentified co-conspirator rushed headlong toward an FBI vehicle that was following them, court records show. 

Both Saleh and Mumuni have been charged with attempting to provide material support to Islamic State. Mumuni was also charged with attempting to kill a government agent.

The unidentified co-conspirator was arrested alongside Saleh, but it was not immediately clear whether that person had been charged.

The FBI began monitoring Saleh in 2014, after he started tweeting messages in support of Islamic State attacks in the Middle East, authorities said. Saleh also publicly praised an Islamic State-sponsored attack in Texas this year, which saw two men attempt to open fire at a convention where contestants were encouraged to draw crude or mocking depictions of the prophet Muhammad.

Saleh was first interviewed by members of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force in March, after a Port Authority police officer spotted him walking along the George Washington Bridge and acting suspiciously.

During that initial interview, Saleh told police he disapproved of the violence carried out by Islamic State members, but government monitoring of his online activities revealed he was researching instructions on how to build a pressure-cooker bomb. 

Saleh and another person had searched "online for a pressure cooker, a crockpot, a sewing machine, a chemistry model, a drill, a lava lamp, an LED light, a garden hose, a pipe or pump, or exhaust, a saw, propane and a watch," court records show.

FBI agents believed those items would be key to the construction of an explosive device. Searches of Saleh's computer revealed he also had been researching landmarks and tourist attractions around New York City as possible targets for an attack.

After his arrest June 13, Saleh identified himself as a "full-fledged" member of Islamic State and said he had been considering attacks against the FBI agents who had been monitoring his activities. He also identified Mumuni as a supporter of Islamic State.

Court records show the two had discussed an attack against law enforcement in early June. Saleh told Mumuni the best approach would be to detonate a bomb, run over survivors with a car and then steal guns from their victims to prolong the attack, records show.

Mumuni became a focus of the FBI probe after he was observed meeting with Saleh several times in May. 

On Wednesday morning, while agents were searching Mumuni's family home, he leapt forward with a kitchen knife and stabbed at an agent in the chest several times, but the blade failed to puncture the agent's body armor, according to the complaint.

Mumuni later told FBI agents that the knife attack "was premeditated and that he kept the knife he used to ... attack the FBI special agent wrapped in a T-shirt in his bed for just such an occasion," according to the complaint.

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