A Saudi national has been sentenced to life in prison for plotting attacks on the Texas home of former US president George W Bush, nuclear plants, and other targets, prosecutors have said.

Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, 22, was arrested last year after a chemical supplier became suspicious when he tried to order concentrated phenol, a toxic chemical that has legitimate uses but is also a powerful bomb-making tool.

The FBI found journal entries and emails in which he wrote about how he sought a scholarship to a Texas university in order to be able to "target the infidel Americans" and detailed how he would carry out "Jihad".

One email he sent himself with the title "targets" contained the names and home addresses of three members of the US military who had been stationed at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Another, titled "Tyrant's House," listed Bush's address in Dallas.

The FBI also found evidence that Aldawsari was looking into using dolls to conceal explosives, targeting a nightclub with a backpack bomb and had emailed himself instructions on how to convert a mobile phone into a remote detonator and how to booby-trap a vehicle using household items.

Aldawsari was lawfully admitted to the US on a student visa in 2008 and was enrolled at South Plains College near Lubbock, Texas at the time of his 2011 arrest.

"Khalid Aldawsari, acting as a lone wolf, may well have gone undetected were it not for the keen observations of private citizens," Sarah Saldaña, US attorney for the northern district of Texas, said in a statement.

"This case, in which private citizens paid attention to details and notified authorities of their suspicions, serves as a reminder to all private citizens that we must always be observant and vigilant, as there are some who intend to cause great harm."

Source: Agencies