A man who was carrying suspected bomb making materials and pro-al-Qaeda literature was arrested in Arlington National Cemetery early today, triggering a bomb scare that snarled Washington’s morning rush hour. The FBI, however, determined that the material in his backpack was harmless.
Brenda Heck, special agent in charge of counterterrorism for the FBI, “There was not a device and the products found are determined right now to be inert.”
Heck also said, “We believe he did act alone.”
Two separate law enforcement sources told ABC News identified the suspect as Yonathan Melaku, 22, of Alexandria, Va. U.S. Park Police said no charges have been filed against him yet.
The statements were found in a notebook that contained mostly notes for a financial class. There was also was a page containing words “al qaeda,” “Taliban rules,” “mujahidin” and “defeated coalition forces.”
Melaku allegedly told police that there were other “devices” in the area and also the location of a vehicle.
Police were investigating a vehicle, a red 2011 Nissan, that contained materials authorities were examining to determine if it was a bomb or other weapon. The possible device was reported neutralized, according to law enforcement spokesmen at the scene.
The Department of Homeland Security’s spokesman Matthew Chandler would only say that the agency is monitoring a suspicious vehicle.
“DHS is monitoring a suspicious vehicle incident causing road closures around the Pentagon,” he said in a statement. “This is a law enforcement matter at this time, with the U.S. Park Police and the Arlington County Police Department as leads and other federal agencies on the scene.”
The Pentagon and the surrounding areas were closed this morning and police are looking for two more people who may be involved.