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Man arrested over airport bomb plot in Kansas

Suspect allegedly planned to drive car he believed was filled with explosives into Wichita airport.

Last updated: 13 Dec 2013 21:52
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Officials said the suspect had been under investigation and surveillance since early summer [Reuters]

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

Terry Lee Loewen, 58, planned to drive a car that he believed was full of explosives into a terminal at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport in the city of Wichita, Kansas District Attorney Barry Grissom said, according to US media reports.

Loewen is charged with one count each of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to damage property and attempting to provide support to al-Qaeda.

Authorities said he was trying to support "al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula'', adding that Loewen is an avionics technician who lived in Wichita and worked at the airport.

'Citizens were not in danger'

Loewen, who had a security card that provided access to restricted areas of the airport, was arrested at 5:40am local time (12:40 GMT) on Friday after he allegedly attempted to enter the airport tarmac and deliver a vehicle loaded with what he believed to be high explosives, officials said. 

Authorities said bomb materials Loewen allegedly planned on using had been "rendered inert'' before Loewen arrived at the airport, according to the USA Today newspaper.

"At no point was any citizen in any type of danger,'' Attorney Grissom said at the press conference announcing the arrest.

Loewen had been under investigation and surveillance since early summer, when he allegedly stated he wanted to "commit an act of violent jihad" against the US, media reports said.

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