Women charged with ISIS-inspired bomb plot
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Law enforcement officials have arrested two New York women for allegedly trying to build a bomb for a terrorist attack.

An unsealed complaint alleges that Noelle Velentzas and Asia Siddiqui were inspired by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, al Qaeda, the Boston Marathon bombings and the November killing of two New York City police officers to pursue a terrorist plot.

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The women were arrested soon after they brought an undercover informant to Siddiqui’s basement and showed off the propane gas tanks and torches that they planned to use to make a bomb, according to the complaint.

“As alleged, the defendants in this case carefully studied how to construct an explosive device to launch an attack on the homeland,” Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.

“We remain firm in our resolve to hold accountable anyone who would seek to terrorize the American people, whether by traveling abroad to commit attacks overseas or by plotting here at home.”

Lynch, President Obama’s nominee to take over as attorney general, frequently prosecutors terrorism cases because of her district’s jurisdiction over a substantial part of New York City.

The government is expected to pursue charges against the women of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against the United States, charges that carry a sentence of up to life in prison.

The complaint includes alleged details from regular meetings with an informant wearing a recording device, where the women said they had instructions to turn the propane tanks into bombs. The complaint says the women made a number of threatening statements calling for jihad.

“Why can’t we be some real bad bitches?” Velentzas reportedly asked at one point, calling the pair “citizens of the Islamic State.”

Siddiqui is alleged by the complaint to have been “close” with Samir Khan, who became the editor of Inspire magazine, a prominent jihadi publicantion associated with al Qaeda. She also published a poem in a jihadi magazine that predated Inspire that says there is “[n]o excuse to sit back and wait — for skies rain martyrdom,” according to the complaint.

But despite those ties, the complaint paints a picture of a plot that was amateurish at times. It alleges that the women tried to order an introduction to chemistry textbook to help them build the bomb, warned an undercover informant about the dangers of speaking to undercover informants and looked up tips on how to spot undercover informants on a cellphone.

The pair allegedly used a number of code words to describe bomb-building and other activities. They also expressed sympathies with a number of Muslims who were arrested in various terrorist plots, according to the complaint.

Also on Thursday, Lynch and the Justice Department announced that an unrelated U.S. citizen had been charged with providing material support to terrorists for allegedly helping a group travel to Pakistan in order to wage jihad.