(PORTLAND, Ore.) — Police have arrested a man who allegedly attempted to detonate a car bomb Friday night at a Portland, Ore., Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
19-year-old Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia, was arrested, authorities say, after he tried to remotely detonate a van packed with what he believed were explosives.
The man was the subject of a long-term sting operation headed by the FBI. Officials allege that Mohamud made contact with an Islamic radical based overseas and expressed interest in committing violent jihad.
A statement from U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton said the explosives were inert and the public was “never in danger.”
“This defendant’s chilling determination is a stark reminder that there are people — even here in Oregon — who are determined to kill Americans,” Holton said.
Though police say the situation was controlled, officials admit the threat of an attack is real.
“Our investigation shows that Mohamud was absolutely committed to carrying out an attack on a very grand scale,” said Arthur Balizan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon.
Mohamud is expected to appear in federal court in Portland on Monday.