Last night, the FBI arrested two NJ men who were about to board separate flights to Cairo at JFK Airport for "conspiring to commit an act of international terrorism" with a Somalian group connected to al Qaeda. According to the Star-Ledger, Mohamed Hamoud Alessa, 20, of North Bergen, and Carlos Eduardo Almonte, 26, of Elmwood Park "were arrested by teams of state and federal law-enforcement agents who have been investigating the pair since October 2006, according to the officials, who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the operation publicly."
It's suspected that the pair were heading to Somalia to join the violent extremist group Al-Shabaab and kill American troops. Around 10:30 p.m. last night, the FBI raided Alessa's house in North Bergen with North Bergen police and the NYPD. At 11 p.m., authorities raided Almonte's house: "A couple who appeared to be family members showed up around 11:30 and greeted the agents as if they knew them. The older man was escorted into the house and could be seen embracing one of the FBI agents in the kitchen."
Neighbors saw agents and officers removing boxes from the houses; one said of Almonte, "I'm shocked. He graduated in our school system. It really hurts. We don't need it." The Star-Ledger says, "Officials said the New Jersey suspects were believed to have led fairly normal lives in North Jersey but then started acting strangely and gravitating toward anti-American sentiment. Their families aided in the investigation after growing worried about the beliefs and actions of the men, officials close to the probe said."
The US Attorney's office said, "The arrests do not relate to any known immediate threat to the public or active plot against the United States."