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August 20, 2017

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17 years for US model plane bomb plotter

BOSTON, Massachusetts -- An American supporter of al-Qaida was sentenced Thursday to 17 years in prison for plotting to bomb the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol using remote-controlled model planes laden with explosives.

Rezwan Ferdaus, 27, pleaded guilty in July to the plot, which turned out to be an FBI sting. His 17-year prison term will be followed by 10 years of supervised release, a justice department statement said.

"His actions were self-initiated, deliberate and dangerous," said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Pirozzolo. "He intended to unleash horrific acts of violence against the people of the United States both here and abroad."

Ferdaus, 27, was arrested in September last year as part of an undercover operation in which FBI agents posed as members of al-Qaida.

In exchange for his guilty plea, the government dismissed the remaining charges against Ferdaus after the imposition of his sentence, according to the justice department.

Authorities have described Ferdaus as an unmarried physics graduate from Boston's Northeastern University. The al-Qaida supporter reportedly committed himself to "violent jihad" early last year.

Ferdaus was also accused of modifying mobile phones for use as switches in bombs to kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq and to having given the devices to FBI agents "he believed were members of or recruiters for al-Qaida."

A white Playboy bunny graced the tail end of one of three model planes filled with C4 plastic explosives, slated to hit the Pentagon or blow the Capitol's dome "to smithereens," he was quoted as saying in court files.

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