Undercover FBI agents arrested an 18-year-old American man who tried to detonate what he believed was a car bomb outside a downtown Chicago bar, federal prosecutors said Saturday.
Adel Daoud, a U.S. citizen from the Chicago suburb of Hillside, was arrested Friday night in an undercover operation in which agents pretending to be extremists provided him with a phony car bomb.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago announced the arrest Saturday and said the device was inert and that the public was never at risk.
Daoud is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to damage and destroy a building with an explosive.
The FBI began monitoring him after he allegedly posted material online about violent jihad and the killing of Americans, federal prosecutors said.
In May, two undercover FBI employees contacted Daoud in response to the material and exchanged several electronic messages with him in which he expressed an interest in engaging in violent jihad in the United States or abroad, according to an affidavit.
Prosecutors say that after being introduced to an undercover FBI agent who claimed to be a terrorist living in New York, Daoud set about identifying 29 potential targets, including military recruiting centers, bars, malls and tourist attractions in Chicago.