Conflict & Justice

Feds: AWOL infantryman planned to attack fellow soldiers at Fort Hood

An AWOL soldier was arrested near Fort Hood army base on Wednesday after a Texas gun dealer alerted police of a “suspicious male” who had purchased gunpowder, shotgun ammunition and a magazine for a semiautomatic handgun.

When FBI agents searched Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo’s hotel room they found a cache of bomb-making materials, including six pounds of smokeless gunpowder, shotgun shells, 18 pounds of sugar, a pressure cooker, four magazines and ammunition. The materials were enough to make two bombs, a Department of Defense official told CNN.

Abdo, 21, had refused to be deployed to Afghanistan last year because it violated his Islamic beliefs. A military review board had approved his request to be discharged from the army as a conscientious objector. But the discharge was delayed after he was charged with possession of child pornography on his computer.

A few weeks after he was recommended for court martial during a military hearing on June 15, Abdo fled Fort Campbell, the military base he was assigned to in Kentucky. Abdo, who joined the army in 2009, has claimed the charges were retaliation for trying to leave the military because of his religious beliefs, the AP reports.

Police arrested Abdo during a traffic stop in Killeen, Tex., a town just outside of Fort Hood where 13 people were killed during a shooting rampage in 2009 by Maj. Nidal Hasan, an army psychiatrist. Following Abdo's arrest, investigators say he told them he also wanted to attack soldiers at Fort Hood.

"I would emphasize that any threat that Abdo posed is now over," FBI spokesman Erik Vasys told the AP. "Suffice it to say we're looking into all aspects of Mr. Abdo's life to determine his motivations and intentions.”

The FBI plans to charge him with possessing bomb-making components, law enforcement officials said. They say they believe he was acting alone.