An 18-year-old is in federal custody after he allegedly attempted to set off what he believed to be a car bomb in front of a downtown Chicago bar on Friday.
Adel Daoud, a U.S. Citizen who resides in Hillside, was arrested and charged with trying to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempt to damage and destroy a building by means of an explosive, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago.
“The explosives that Daoud allegedly attempted to detonate posed no threat to the public. They were inert and had been supplied by undercover law enforcement personnel,” Gary S. Shapiro, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said.
Daoud's family and friends in Hillside were shocked by the news.
A man who answered the phone at Daoud's home and spoke with the Chicago Sun-times said "My son is innocent."
The report also included an interview with a woman who identified herself as Daoud's sister. She described her brother as "not violent at all," according to the Sun-Times report.
Next door to where Daoud lived with his family, his neighbor Estelle Pappas described him as a helpful man.
"The kid that I know is an angel," said Pappas, who remembers the time Daoud helped her with yard work when her husband was away.
However, a Federal complaint paints a different picture of Daoud.
FBI agents began tracking Daoud last October. In May, two FBI online undercover employees contacted Daoud in response to material Daoud posted online and thereafter exchanged several electronic communications with Daoud. During these communications Daoud expressed an interest in engaging in violent jihad, either in the United States or overseas, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit alleges that, from late May to mid-June, Daoud confirmed his belief in the propriety of killing Americans in a terrorist attack and then began seeking online resources regarding how to carry out an attack.
On Friday, Daoud met the undercover agent in Villa Park and they drove to downtown Chicago. During the drive, Daoud led the undercover agent in a prayer that Daoud and the agent succeed in their attack, kill many people, and cause destruction, the release said. They entered a parking lot where a Jeep containing the purported explosive device was parked.
Daoud then drove the Jeep out of the parking lot and parked the vehicle in front of a bar in downtown Chicago, which was the target that he had previously selected. According to the affidavit, Daoud exited the vehicle and walked to an alley approximately a block away, and in the presence of the undercover agent, attempted to detonate the device by pressing the triggering mechanism. He was then arrested.
Agents said Daoud had a list of 29 potential targets, including military recruiting centers, bars, malls and tourist attractions around the city.
Daoud had an initial appearance Saturday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys. He remains in custody pending a detention and preliminary hearing, which was scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday in Federal Court. Daoud faces a statutory maximum sentence of life in prison for attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a potential maximum of 20 years in prison for attempt to damage or destroy a building by means of an explosive.