Two New York men plead guilty in ISIS-related terrorism case

Washington, Feb 12 (IANS) Two New York residents accused of conspiring to support ISIS and plotting to set off a pressure-cooker bomb in the city have pleaded guilty to all charges, federal prosecutors and New York officials said on Saturday.

Munther Omar Saleh, 21, of Queens, and Fareed Mumuni, 22, of Staten Island, were charged with “conspiring and attempting to provide material support” to ISIS and with assaulting and conspiring to assault federal officers, CNN quoted the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York as saying in a statement.

Mumuni also was charged with “attempted murder of federal officers”. That charge resulted from an incident in which Mumuni repeatedly stabbed an FBI agent as law enforcement officials carried out a search warrant at his home about two years ago, officials said.

Saleh, a US citizen and a former aeronautics student, faces up to 53 years in prison. Mumuni’s immigration status is not clear; he faces up to 85 years in prison.

Both men are scheduled to be sentenced May 16.

Saleh and another individual were taken into custody on June 13, 2015 in Queens after they charged at a federal officer who was performing physical surveillance of Saleh, according to Friday’s statement.

Both men were armed with knives, the statement said.

Mumuni was arrested in the same month after he repeatedly stabbed an FBI agent in the torso with a large kitchen knife after FBI agents arrived at his Staten Island home to execute a search warrant, officials said.

“During his arrest, Mumuni stabbed an FBI agent numerous times, but thankfully the agent’s body armour protected him from the defendant’s attack and the defendant was safely apprehended by law enforcement,” acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord said Friday.

During a search of the vehicle used by Mumuni, investigators recovered a second large knife, the statement said. After his arrest, Mumuni admitted that he kept a knife wrapped in a T-shirt in his bed to use in any confrontation with law enforcement officers.

Mumuni also said an ISIS fighter had sanctioned his planned suicide attack on law enforcement officials following him, according to the statement.