A 19-year-old has been arrested in connection with a plot to detonate a vehicle bomb at an annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon, the Justice Department has announced. Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia, was arrested on suspicion of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. He is a resident of Corvallis, Oregon, and a student at Oregon State University, according to the FBI. Mohamud was arrested by the FBI and Portland Police Bureau after he attempted to detonate what he believed to be an explosives-laden van that was parked near the tree-lighting ceremony in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square. The arrest was the culmination of a long-term undercover operation during which Mohamud had been monitored closely as his alleged bomb plot developed. According to an arrest warrant affidavit written by an FBI special agent, Mohamud was in e-mail communication in August 2009 with a person believed to be involved in terrorist activities. In December, that person was located in the northwest frontier province of Pakistan. The two communicated regularly, the affidavit states, and using coded language, they discussed the possibility of Mohamud traveling to Pakistan to prepare for violent jihad. Mohamud allegedly told undercover FBI operatives he had been thinking of committing violent jihad since the age of 15. Mohamud also said that he had written articles that were published in Jihad Recollections, an online magazine that advocated violent jihad.
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