Two former Queens roommates are accused of plotting to plant a bomb in New York City. The feds say both are ISIS supporters. They’ve been named as Noelle Velentzas, 28, and Asia Siddiqui, 31.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Siddiqui Told an FBI Agent That She Was Learning How to Build a Bomb
According to a federal criminal complaint, Velentzas and Siddiqui thought they were dealing with a fellow ISIS supporter but were actually talking to an FBI agent. Recently, Siddiqui told the undercover agent that she didn’t want to continue talking about how her terrorism plotting was going anymore. She allegedly previously told him that she was learning how to build a bomb. The documents say that the two expressed ideas about planting a bomb in New York City’s Herald Square, but it’s not clear how far that plan ever got. According to the feds, the public were never in danger. Both of the suspects are U.S. citizens and although they no longer live together, the pair both lived in the Jamaica, Queens, neighborhood at the time of their arrest.
The two women were arrested in New York City on April 2, reports CBS New York. The investigation into the two is being handled by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Both Noelle Velentzas and Asia Siddiqui will appear in court in Brooklyn on April 2. The investigation into the pair began in May 2013.
2. They Wanted to Be ‘Bad B*tches’ & Bomb the Funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos
In the documents, during one meeting between the FBI undercover agent and the two suspects, the pair mooted the possibility at planting a bomb at the December funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos. He was shot and killed in his patrol car by madman attacker Ismaaiyl Brinsley on December 20 in Brooklyn, New York. Ramos, 40, was with the force for just two years when he died. He had just turned 40 on December 12. The two wondered how many cops would be there.
Prior to that aborted plot, the suspects had been working on hand-to-hand combat. The agent observed and incident where Velentzas pulled a knife out of her bra and made a stabbing motion before adding “Why we can’t be some real bad bitches?”
The suspects were first named by the New York Times. The criminal complaint against the women reads that Siddiqui was “in possession of multiple propane gas tanks, as well as instructions for how to transform propane tanks into explosive devices.” Documents say that the two had been “researching pressure cookers since those devices were used in the Boston Marathon bombings in 2014.” Velentzas told the undercover FBI agent that she needed to learn how to “fight multiple people at once.” She adds, “If we get arrested, the police will point their guns at us from the back maybe from the front. If we can get even one of their weapons, we can shoot them. They will probably kill us but we will be martyrs automatically and receive Allah’s blessings.” The documents also detail the extensive lengths that the two and the undercover agent went through to learn how to make a bomb from domestic utilities, their fear of not making the bomb correctly and many trips they made to Home Depot to get materials.
3. Asia Siddiqui Was Close With the Editor of Inspire Magazine
The documents state that Asia Siddiqui “became close” with Samir Khan in 2006, while he was living in the U.S. After leaving the country, Khan became the editor of Inspire magazine, the al-Qaeda magazine. He was killed in 2011 drone strike in Yemen. Despite Khan’s death, Siddiqui maintained ties to Al-Qaeda in Yemen. In 2009, she had a poem published in Inspire’s predecessor called “Take Me to the Lands Where the Eyes Are Cooled.” Here it is in full:
Take me to the lands where the eyes are cooled…
There are dreams I will leave everything behind for
Everything that has meaning in my life
Came to life with the introduction to my Lord
To the Oneness of my Lord
To the Mercies of His evermore
Than I can implore…
I have memories of soldiers of Allaah, memories of soldiers of shaytan
Memories of battlegrounds I haven’t yet stepped on
Memories of battlefields I have never stepped on…
Yaa Allaah, take me – Aslamtu lirabbil aalameen
Take me… to the lands where the eyes are cooled
Jannatul Firdaus lies unpursued
I remind myself these sacrifies are only for You, too few
Hunger never felt so good as it does handcuffed
Some of us are born soldiers, battle runs through our blood
The sound of gun rattle sends a rush, soothing
I sleep with my eyes open, my subconscious constantly invoking
Al-Baa’ith! Al-Mu’eed! … my mind strays back to golden past I haven’t yet lived…
All this Time I spent living Wahn dreams instead
Surrounded by walls of marble with widescreens, gardens of plush green
Pouring rain splashing on window panes, crystal ceilings
But Allaahi, nafsi only knew of empty feelings
Verily, time teases. The tease of martyrdom when the ruh leaves
In degrees; the degrees every soul dreams to seize
The degrees the angels appease one over another
The degrees of infinite seas with which the Lord pleads, the seven seas cannot encumber
I drown in ghibtah rage for a cavalry of my own
Plotting against shaytaan, suffocating for self-control
I want to be purified with every breath, every sweat, every echo, every harakah
The innumerable Tawaafs, the countless du’at, every step I take, I’m back at Arafat
I have work to do. Mistakes to correct, time to make up.
No excuse to sit back and wait- for the skies rain martyrdom
Wait, No! The skies never rain martyrdom…
Martyrdom rains the skies!
This world is a morgue on standstill watching the lost souls
In a cold, silent, blank stare – death stare
Death stirs in cold, silent, despair
Finding no place to call home, my vision blurs
All my fingers plucked out, my veins stretched to dull
Laughter poking into my sleep… into my dreams
Peeling laughter – the never-ending discourse of shaytaan’s regime
Sahytaan Ar Rajeem… silenced. Prison walls that scream
The urges reincarnate into rebellion, into physical hunger, social incompetency
I am a slithering soul cringing to be free
The sweat of my efforts choke, wet strokes of vapour from a cloud
For my dreams to emerge… on cracked canvas – chipping off paint
The pigments of a lost nation. A curse. A nation. A religion. A pagan
An exiled. A misery. A child with incisors. A soliciting child
Soliciting for a while for golden signs… along the Cyprus, Nile, miles from
With a defied conscience eager for recompense…
The mountains are my castles, the sand is my sea
I peril through the wilderness as it’s a part of me
I hear voices in the dark; feel pressure on my prayer rug
As I swing on a hammock between date palms, I drop bombs
I feel blisters beneath my feet as I sneak behind the enemy fleet
I fall sleep in the midst of battle before sirens and tanks owned by enemy ranks
Hit cloud nine with the smell of turpentine, nations wiped clean of filthy shrines
My teeth grind, my gums sting, my jaws flinch from and flame in chemical pain
And from all this. I confess I’ve become more sane
My backbones sprain from the tensions of unresolved game
I refuse to return home! Thrust open my wounds where my nerves have ruined
Rupture my skin where my membranes bare thinned
Tear my limbs that resist in abstinence
Here- taste the Truth through fists and slit throats –
And prefer this over death from slit wrists, pills, drunk and doped
Thank me later, for now, do what you will – let the noise persist!
Running in half excitement, half regret, index finger to sky, a bulletproof vest
I turn around – what can my enemies do to me if Allaah has promised me success?
I waken with moistened eyes, tired and high off of unresolved life
Some dreams seem like real life; sometimes, life seems like a dream
I steel from the greedy the remnants of my fitrah and run into the dungeon of death
Asia Siddiqui also wrote a letter of support to Oregon would-be terrorist Mohamed Osman Mohamud. The return address on that 2010 letter was for York College in Jamaica, Queens (above), Siddiqui’s alma-mater.
4. Velentzas, a Married Mother, Had a Bin Laden Pic as Her Phone’s Wallpaper
Velentzas espoused that Osama Bin Laden was her hero and what’s described as “violent jihadist ideology,” according to documents. The undercover agent who was dealing with Velentzas said that the wallpaper background on her phone was of the 9/11 mastermind holding an AK-47. She also thought of Abdullah Azzam, a founding member of al-Qaeda, as an icon. Velentzas told the undercover agent “a suicide bomber does not take her life; she gives her life in the name of Allah.” The New York Daily News reports that Velentzas is a married mother of one child.
5. This Comes a Week After a Member of the U.S. National Guard Was Arrested for Allegedly Trying to Join ISIS
This comes a week after the arrest of two cousins in Chicago who were trying to join ISIS. One of those men, Hasan Edmonds, was a member of the U.S. National Guard.