June 17, 2011

Suspicious Vehicle Near the Pentagon (Update: Suspect identified as Marine Corps Reservist Yonathan Melaku)

Yonathan Melaku_pentagon pkg scare.jpg
Yonathan Melaku

Update: I'm getting conflicting reports, Both NBC and CBS are reporting that a "device" was found and rendered safe. Other reports at this time do not confirm any device.

Ozarks First: CBS News - A suspicious item found inside a vehicle near the Pentagon has been "disrupted" and "rendered safe," a law enforcement official has told CBS News.

The U.S. Park Police have in custody a man believed to be connected to the item, according to Park Police spokesman Sgt. David Schlosser.

Also there are reports that the man in custody is of Ethiopian origin, which is right next door to terrorist controlled Somalia.
The incident began when a man -- believed to be a naturalized US citizen who came to the US from Ethiopia -- was found in the nearby Arlington National Cemetery overnight Thursday. The man was arrested at the scene.
We'll update again when we know more. If anyone has more please feel free to ad in comments.

Also its being reports that a notebook and suspicious devices were located in various places, although not in the car itself at this point.

Authorities reportedly found al Qaeda-related statements, a backpack initially believed to contain ammonium nitrate, and spent 9mm shells at the scene, ABC's "Good Morning America" reported.

A notebook containing words including "al Qaeda" and Taliban" was found at the scene, FOX News Channel reported.

CBS News reported that the arrested man was suspected of planting several suspicious devices around the Pentagon, the Arlington National Cemetery and the Iwo Jima Memorial.

US Park Police Sergeant David Schlosser said at a news conference early Friday law enforcement authorities were conducting sweeps of the Pentagon, the cemetery and the memorial.

"We're pretty early in this right now so were going to be doing sweeps. We're coordinating our efforts to make sure that the entire area is safe," Schlosser said.

Hat Tip: Town Hall.

UPDATE by SH: [Emphasis mine]FNC

DEVELOPING: The man in custody for carrying a backpack with "suspicious items and products" inside Arlington National Cemetery overnight is a U.S. Marine Corps reservist, military and law enforcement sources tell Fox News.

Yonathan Melaku, a Lance Corporal Marine corps reservist who lives in Virginia and who is Muslim, has been identified as the suspect in custody, Fox News has learned.

Sources close to the investigation also said a notebook believed to belong to the man was found containing threatening phrases like "Al Qaeda," "Taliban rule" and "defeated coalition forces."[More]

UPDATE II by SH: It has been confirmed he has a record, here is a report of his earlier arrest: Yonathan Melaku arrested in Leesburg car tamperings

UPDATE by Rusty: FYI, about half of Ethiopia's population is Muslim.

I'm not sure what to make of this guy yet. Given that he was arrested in a string of car vandalisms, what does that say about his intentions? I'm not sure.

Especially now that "nothing suspicious" (h/t: Doug Powers) was found in the car and that whatever was in his backpack was "inert". Dry run? Playing jihadi at night by himself in a cemetery? An al Qaeda super-spooky seance? I really don't know.

Maybe he is a lone wolf carrying out the aspirations of al Qaeda which hopes to provoke small scale operations. But if that is the case then it is our good fortune that most of the kinds of people susceptible to such provocation are morons.

By Howie at 08:50 AM | Comments |