An Illinois Army National Guard soldier vowed to bring “the flames of war to the heart” of America if he was unable to get to the Middle East to join the Islamic State group, and his cousin bragged that he could kill at least 150 people in a terrorist attack in the U.S., federal prosecutors said Thursday in announcing their arrests.
Hasan R. Edmonds, the 22-year-old guardsman, was arrested Wednesday night at Chicago Midway International Airport while trying to board a plane for the first leg of a journey that eventually would take him to Egypt. Jonas M. Edmonds, 29, was arrested earlier that day at his home, the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago said in a statement. Both men are U.S. citizens from the Chicago suburb of Aurora.
According to an unsealed federal complaint, Jonas Edmonds planned to carry out an attack in the U.S. after Hasan Edmonds left the country. Without naming it, the complaint says they contemplated an armed attack against a U.S. military facility in northern Illinois where Hasan Edmonds had trained.
In Internet messages to an undercover FBI agent in January, Hasan Edmonds said that if he was unable to make it to the Middle East, he would help bring “the flames of war to the heart” of America and “cause as much damage and mayhem as possible,” prosecutors allege.
On Tuesday, the cousins drove to a military installation with an undercover agent to discuss an attack, according to the complaint, which does not name the facility. Hasan Edmonds described the types of rooms inside and talked about which ones should and shouldn’t be hit.
Hasan said in messages earlier this year that his knowledge of the U.S. military and American psychology would prove helpful in terrorizing Americans, prosecutors contend. He suggested not just killing people, but capturing and holding others.
“If we can break their spirits, we will win,” he said, according to the complaint.
Another time, he spoke admiringly of the recent terrorist attack in Paris on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which killed 12 people.
“Honestly, we would love to do something like the brother in Paris did,” Hasan Edmonds wrote, according to prosecutors.