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2 Women Plead Guilty to Terror Plot

Asia Siddiqui, 35, and Noelle Velentzas, 31, appeared in federal court
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2019 4:00 PM CDT
Updated Aug 24, 2019 6:00 PM CDT
In this April 2, 2015 courtroom file sketch, defendants Noelle Velentzas, left and Asia Siddiqui, appear at federal court in New York after they were arrested for plotting to build a homemade bomb and...   (AP Photo/Jane Rosenberg, File)

(Newser) – Two New York women who went crazy for al-Qaeda—one of whom had an Osama bin Laden screensaver on her phone—pleaded guilty Friday to bomb-making charges in federal court, the New York Post reports. Asia Siddiqui, 35, and Noelle Velentzas, 31, could get 20 years each. After pleading not guilty in 2015, the pair admitted to "teaching and distributing information pertaining to the making and use of an explosive, destructive device, and weapon of mass destruction, intending that it be used to commit a federal crime of violence," says the US Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of New York.

The women—both US citizens—allegedly studied deadly terror attacks and planned one in America, perhaps at a government building or the funeral of a New York police officer. The pair were arrested in a 2015 sting made possible by an NYPD officer who posed undercover as an Islamic radical, per CBS New York. Authorities say searches of the women's Queens homes uncovered bomb-making recipes, jihadist writing, fertilizer, a pressure cooker, and three gas tanks. The guilty pleas killed the chance of a trial revealing the NYPD's use of undercover agents and informants—an approach civil rights groups have denounced, saying it coaxes innocents into terrorist activities. (Read more terrorism stories.)

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