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Kansas Man Arrested For Alleged ISIS-Inspired Bomb Plot

A man who authorities say was sympathetic to the self-declared Islamic State and plotting to carry out a suicide bombing at a U.S. Army base in Kansas, has been arrested and charged following a lengthy FBI sting operation.

John T. Booker Jr., 20, of Topeka, was apprehended Friday morning "while making final preparations for the suicide car bomb attack" he'd been planning at Fort Riley, Kansas Public Radio's Stephen Koranda reports.

U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom says there was never any danger to the public.

"The perimeter of Fort Riley was never penetrated, there was never any concern on our part that he would get onto the fort and, unbeknownst to him, the materials that were used to make up this bomb were inert," Grissom said.

According to KPR: "Booker is charged with three federal crimes and faces a penalty of life in prison. Grissom says Booker made a video to be played after his death that warns the families of military members that soldiers are targets for the Islamic State."

Prosecutors say that Booker told an FBI informant that he wanted to wage violent jihad on behalf of ISIS and said such an attack was justified because the Quran "says to kill your enemies wherever they are," according to a criminal complaint quoted by The Associated Press.

The AP says:

"Authorities arrested Booker as he was trying to arm what he thought was a 1,000 pound bomb outside the Army post, according to prosecutors. The criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Topeka charges him with three crimes, including attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

"The top federal prosecutor for Kansas also charged another Topeka man, Alexander E. Blair, 28, with failing to report Booker's plans to authorities. The complaint alleges that Blair and Booker shared some "extremist views" and that Blair loaned Booker money to rent space to build and store a bomb."

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.