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Two New York women plead guilty to plan to build bomb for U.S. terror attack

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Two women inspired by radical Islam pleaded guilty in New York City on Friday to teaching and distributing information about the manufacture and use of an explosive, destructive device, and weapon of mass destruction, federal prosecutors said.

Asia Siddiqui and Noelle Velentzas, both from the borough of Queens, face up to 20 years in prison when they are sentenced.

“In an effort to implement their violent, radical ideology, the defendants studied some of the most deadly terrorist attacks in U.S. history, and used them as a blueprint for their own plans to kill American law enforcement and military personnel,” U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said in a statement.

Prosecutors said that between roughly 2013 and 2015, Velentzas and Siddiqui planned to build a bomb for use in a terrorist attack in the United States. They taught each other chemistry and electrical skills, conducted research on how to make plastic explosives and a car bomb, and bought materials to be used in an explosive device.

They also researched potential targets, focusing on law enforcement and military-related locations, and discussed similar devices used in terrorist incidents including the Boston Marathon bombing, Oklahoma City bombing and 1993 World Trade Center attack, prosecutors said in their statement.

Law enforcement officers seized propane gas tanks, soldering tools, car bomb instructions, jihadist literature, machetes and several knives from the residences of the defendants when they were arrested, prosecutors said.

Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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