NEW YORK (AP) – Two women were arrested Thursday after undercover investigators determined they were trying to build a homemade bomb, prosecutors said.
The public was never in danger, authorities said. There is evidence the women looked at Islamic State group propaganda on the Internet, prosecutors say, but authorities don’t believe they had direct contact with the group.
John Miller, the head of the New York Police Department’s counterterrorism operation, said they were arrested in Queens. They are expected to appear in Brooklyn federal court later in the day.
The criminal complaint names the women as former roommates Noelle Velentzas and Asia Siddiqui, both of Queens.
It says that from around May 2013 to the present, they conspired to use a weapon of mass destruction, an explosive device, somewhere in the United States.
Siddiqui possessed propane gas tanks and instructions for how to transform them into explosive devices, the complaint said.
Velentzas “expressed violent jihadist ideology” and repeatedly expressed interest in terrorist attacks committed in the U.S.; she praised the 9/11 attacks and said being a martyr through a suicide attack guarantees entrance into heaven, authorities said.
Velentzas had been “obsessed with pressure cookers since the Boston Marathon attacks in 2013” and made jokes alluding to explosives after receiving one as a gift, it said.