02:14 GMT29 March 2020
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    Two women arrested on suspicion of plotting to build a bomb for carrying out an ISIL-inspired terrorist attack in New York City pleaded not guilty.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Two women arrested in early April on suspicion of plotting to build a bomb for carrying out an Islamic State (ISIL)-inspired terrorist attack in New York City pleaded not guilty Thursday, local media reported.

    Noelle Velentzas, 28 and Asia Siddiqui, 31, both US citizens and former roommates entered not guilty pleas in federal court in Brooklyn, according to the New York Post. Their next court appearance is scheduled for May 20.

    The women have been charged with conspiracy, planning to build explosive devises for an attack on the territory of the United States and distributing information on how to build one. If convicted, they face life imprisonment.

    According to the prosecution, Siddiqui had repeated contacts with members of al-Qaeda and published jihad-themed poems. Velentzas, who was obsessed with the ISIL and terrorist attacks such as the 2013 Boston marathon bombing, confessed to an undercover FBI agent that she believed killing a police officer is easy and was looking for a potential target.

    The women were arrested by the FBI after they acquired propane gas tanks and manuals on how to use them to make explosives.

    The ISIL Sunni jihadist group that seized vast lands in Iraq and Syria in 2014 is notorious for its aggressive propaganda aimed at persuading young Westerners to either join the group abroad or conduct terrorist attacks at home.

    According to the US-based Brookings Institution, the United States accounts for world's fourth largest number of ISIL supporters on the social media.


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