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US man held over Kansas 'suicide bomb plot'

Posted on 14th December 2013 at 17:58pm

A man has been arrested in the US state of Kansas and accused of planning to detonate a suicide car bomb at an airport, authorities have said.

Terry Lee Loewen, 58, has been charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

Mr Loewen, an aviation technician, does not appear to have been affiliated with any religious group, police said.

Authorities said Mr Loewen was snared by undercover FBI investigators and the public was never in danger.

"There was no breach of Mid-Continent's Airport's security," said Kansas US Attorney Barry Grissom in a statement.

"At no time was the safety of travellers or members of the public placed in jeopardy."

'Good guys won'

Mr Loewen was charged in federal court on Friday with attempting to detonate a car bomb at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport.

He has also been charged with attempting to damage property by means of an explosive and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organisation.

If convicted, Mr Loewen could face a sentence of life in prison.

Authorities arrested Mr Loewen on Friday morning after he attempted to enter the airport tarmac and drive a vehicle loaded with what he believed were high explosives, authorities said.

The US justice department said he spent months developing a plan to use his access card to carry out the plan.

"He planned to pull the trigger on the explosives himself and die in the explosion," the department said in a statement.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback thanked the law enforcement authorities who captured Mr Loewen.

"In our ongoing war on terrorism, the good guys won one today," he said.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2013 BBC

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