NEW YORK — Two New York City women were arrested Thursday on charges they were plotting to wage violent jihad by building a homemade bomb and using it for Boston Marathon-type terror attack, prosecutors said.
One of the women, Noelle Velentzas, had been "obsessed with pressure cookers since the Boston Marathon attacks in 2013" and made jokes alluding to explosives after receiving one as a gift, according to a criminal complaint.
The complaint unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn names Velentzaz and her former roommate, Asia Siddiqui, as the targets of an undercover investigation into a homegrown terror plot.
The women were expected to make initial court appearances later Thursday on charges of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, an explosive device, somewhere in the United States. It was unclear if the women had attorneys who could comment on the charges.
The women repeatedly expressed support for violent jihad during conversations with an undercover investigator wearing a wire, according to a complaint.
In 2009, Siddiqui wrote a poem in a magazine published by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula that declared there is "no excuse to sit back and wait - for the skies rain martyrdom," investigators wrote in court papers. Velentzas called Osama bin Laden one of her heroes, and said she and Siddiqui were "citizens of the Islamic State," they said.
Since 2014, the pair plotted to build an explosive device for use in a terrorist attack on American soil, the complaint says. They "researched and acquired some of the components of a car bomb, like the one used in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; a fertilizer bomb, like the one used in the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City; and a pressure cooker bomb, like the one used in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing," authorities wrote.
At the time of her arrest, Siddiqui was "in possession of multiple propane gas tanks, as well as instructions for how to transform propane tanks into explosive devices," the complaint says.
The arrests follow another New York case announced last month in which a U.S. Air Force veteran was accused of scheming to travel to Syria to join the Islamic state.
Tairod Pugh, 47, had recently been fired from his job as an airplane mechanic. Prosecutors said he traveled from Egypt to Turkey to ultimately cross the border but was turned away. His attorney has said he would plead not guilty.
Also in March, three other men pleaded not guilty in Brooklyn federal court to terrorism charges in a plot to travel from New York to Syria via Turkey to join the Islamic State group.
Associated Press writers Kiley Armstrong and Colleen Long contributed to this report.