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Kansas Man Sentenced to 30 Years for Trying to Bomb US Army Base

  • VOA News

FILE - Vehicles park around a water tower at Fort Riley, Kan.

A Kansas man convicted of attempting to detonate a vehicle bomb at Fort Riley U.S. Army base has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

John Booker Jr., 22, was arrested in April 2015 outside Fort Riley, 100 kilometers west of Topeka, as he tried to arm what he thought was a bomb. When he pleaded guilty in February, he acknowledged that he wanted to kill Americans and participate in what he called a holy war to support Islamic State militants.

“With this sentence, John Booker is being held accountable for his plan to kill U.S. military personnel on American soil in the name of ISIS,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Dana Boente said in a statement, using an acronym for the militant group. “The National Security Division’s highest priority is countering terrorist threats and protecting American lives by bringing to justice those who plot to attack us."

In a video he made for Americans to see after his planned death, Booker said, "You sit in your homes and think this war is just over in Iraq. Today, we will bring the Islamic State straight to your doorstep.''

Booker pleaded guilty in February to one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and one count of attempting to destroy government property with an explosive device. The plea agreement recommended the 30-year sentence. A conviction on the weapons-of-mass-destruction charge could have led to life in prison.

The FBI began investigating Booker in March 2014 after he posted pro-jihad comments on Facebook. Prosecutors said he tried to enlist in the U.S. Army to attempt an insider attack against American soldiers, but his enlistment was denied.

In March 2015, he made a video in which he pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State, prosecutors said.

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