The mother of Jose Pimentel, the alleged al-Qaida sympathizer arrested for plotting to kill US military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as blow up government buildings, is devastated by her son's behavior.
The New York Post reports that Carmen Sosa, speaking through tears to reporters outside her apartment, said, "I don't know what's going on. I just want peace. I just want to say I love him. I didn't raise him that way. He changed."
"I cannot sleep, it's hard for you to know what I've been through," she said, adding, "I don't know him.
"He dropped out of school," she said. "He's had a lot of jobs, but he's not working now."
Pimentel, 27, was arrested by the NYPD Saturday for making explosives.
"We had to act quickly yesterday because he was in fact putting this bomb together," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly at a press conference Sunday night. "He was drilling holes and it would have been not appropriate for us to let him walk out the door with that bomb."
And according to Mayor Bloomberg, Pimentel was "plotting to bomb police patrol cars and also postal facilities as well as targeted members of our armed services returning from abroad."
Kelly described Pimentel as a Muslim convert who talked about changing his name to Osama Hussein to celebrate his fallen heroes, Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
A Dominican-born US citizen, Pimentel frequently read Inspire, al Qaeda's English-language propaganda magazine, but was not affiliated with the group, and was plotting the terrorist acts as a "lone wolf" according to Bloomberg.
He was a fan of Anwar al-Awlaki, and wrote letters to the American-born radical cleric. When Awlaki was killed by US forces this September in Yemen, Pimentel became more motivated to attack Americans.
"He decided to build the bomb August of this year, but clearly he jacked up his speed after the elimination of al-Awlaki," Kelly said.
Pimentel partially learned how to make explosives from a manual in Inspire called, "How to Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom," and did in fact live with his mother for a period before she kicked him out due to his extremism.
"The only changes I noticed over the past two years was that he converted to the Muslim faith, "his uncle Luis Serviano, who Pimentel was living with at the time of his arrest, told The Post, adding that his nephew “used to be [a good kid]. But not now."
Relatives say Pimentel, also known as Muhammad Yusuf, converted to Islam two years ago.
House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) said Sunday evening that radicalized Muslim converts like Pimentel are a "growing issue" among counterterrorism officials. King said converts who become radicalized are "sometimes the most dedicated, if you will" to carrying out violent attacks against Western targets.
Pimentel has been denied bail and remains in police custody. He is charged with first-degree criminal possession of a weapon as a crime of terrorism, and soliciting support for a terrorist act.
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