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Man Suspected of Trying to Plant Explosive Device Near Pentagon in Custody; Carried Al Qaeda Literature? Update: FBI Says No Explosives; Man Identified

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By Doug Powers  •  June 17, 2011 09:35 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

Meanwhile, while much of the nation was distracted by Weiner, climate change and Sarah Palin’s emails…

ABC News:

Police detained a man near the Sept. 11 memorial at the Pentagon this morning after he was reportedly found carrying a suspicious device and pro-al Qaeda literature, officials said.

The man appears to be a U.S. citizen of Ethiopian ethnicity. He would not make any admissions to the police.

The man’s backpack contained what officials believe is ammonium nitrate and spent 9mm shells as well as written material that contained statements including: “al qaeda taliban rules,” sources told ABC News.

One source told ABC News that they need final confirmation on whether it is ammonium nitrate and it’s not clear whether this was a workable device.

The New York Post reports there may be other suspects.

Ed Morrissey links to a Washington Post article containing more details:

The man was found in the cemetery after it closed and Schlosser said authorities decided it was “important” to locate his vehicle following an interview with him. Arlington County police found the car off of Washington Boulevard near the Pentagon early this morning, Schlosser said.
[...]
Channel 9 is reporting authorities are planning to do a controlled explosion of the suspicious vehicle.

This has also caused major Beltway roads to be closed.

JWF sarcastically notes: “What a horrific shame that meanie Peter King has been holding hearings on Islamic radicalization.”

Update:

The FBI said the man had a backpack with him. Items found “in bags” in the backpack were deemed suspicious, but later determined to be non-explosive material. At one point, it was believed that police were searching for one or two more people who fled the scene on foot when police stopped the vehicle, according to NBC News Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski. But the FBI later said they believe the man was acting alone and there was “no reason to believe any other individuals acted with him.”

“Early reports” are often downgraded like this, so we’ll keep an eye on this one.

Update II: He’s been identified:

The man in custody for carrying a backpack with “suspicious items and products” inside Arlington National Cemetery overnight is a U.S. Marine Corps reservist, military and law enforcement sources tell Fox News.

Yonathan Melaku, a Lance Corporal Marine corps reservist who lives in Virginia and who is Muslim, has been identified as the suspect in custody, Fox News has learned.

**Written by Doug Powers

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