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Would-be Killeen bomber gets additional, harsher charges

Naser Jason Abdo

The 21-year-old man who was arrested in July for plotting an explosives attack on a restaurant near the U.S. Army base in Killeen, TX, was slapped with additional charges that could net him a prison term of more than 100 years.

Federal prosecutors in Texas said on Nov. 8 that a federal grand jury in Waco had indicted Naser Jason Abdo on new charges in connection with the July plot.

Abdo was charged with one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction; one count of attempted murder of officers or employees of the United States, two counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a federal crime of violence; and two counts of possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a federal crime of violence, said prosecutors.

The six-count indictment alleges that on July 27, 2011, Abdo planned to make and detonate a bomb to kill military personnel at an unspecified restaurant and shoot any survivors of the blast. Abdo is also alleged to have had a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun to use in the aftermath of the explosion.

At the time of his arrest last July, Abdo was absent without leave (AWOL) soldier from Fort Campbell, KY, had a gun and instructions on how to build a bomb and bomb-components, said the FBI. Court documents also allege that Abdo intended to detonate the destructive device inside the restaurant, which was a favorite of soldiers from Fort Hood. Abdo was nabbed after he tried to buy bulk black powder in the same Killeen gun store where Army Major Nidal Hasan had bought the gun he used in a bloody attack on Fort Hood in 2009.

Abdo was initially indicted last August on possession of a destructive device and unregistered weapons charges. While those charges remain in effect, prosecutors said they would make their case on the new counts.

Abdo remains in federal custody and if prosecutors are successful, he could face up to life in a federal prison on the WMD charges; up to 20 years on the attempted murder charges; a mandatory 30 years for each destructive device charge and a mandatory five year term on the firearms charges, according to the FBI.