A federal magistrate has denied bail for the two New Jersey men accused of trying to join a terrorist group in Somalia. Prosecutors say Mohamed Mahmood Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte were conspiring to harm and kill U.S. troops in Africa.
The 20-year-old Alessa was reportedly radicalize in his early years. At age 14, sources say he boasted about wanting to mutilate gays and blow up his New Jersey high school, reports the Daily News.
"Six years [ago], Alessa was barred from attending classes at North Bergen High School because officials deemed him dangerous. A source told the Daily News, 'He was threatening classmates, threatening staff - all as part of this radicalized terroristic behavior.' He transfered in the fall of 2005 to KAS Prep, an alternative school for troubled teens in North Bergen - but his vile threats only intensified. A school official who was at KAS at the time told the Bergen Record [that] Alessa talked about mutilating homosexuals, subordinating women in the name of Islam and blowing up the school with a gang of Muslims. ... Officials from both North Bergen High School and KAS Prep contacted the Department of Homeland Security and described Alessa as "a potential threat.' In February 2007, Alessa moved to the country of Jordan, according to school records.
Alessa and Almonte were arrested Saturday night at New York City's John F. Kennedy Airport as they prepared to fly to Egypt. The Federal Bureau of Investigation says the men intended to head to Somalia to seek terror training from al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists.