By Brendan O’Brien
(Reuters) – An Illinois man was sentenced on Monday to 16 years in prison for attempting to set off what he thought was a car bomb outside a downtown Chicago bar in 2012, a federal prosecutor said.
Adel Daoud, 25, of the Chicago suburb of Hillside, pleaded guilty in November while maintaining his innocence under the terms of an “Alford plea” to one count of attempting use of a weapon of mass destruction and one count of attempting to destroy a building by means of an explosive, court documents showed.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman sentenced Daoud to 16 years in federal prison, to be followed by 45 years of supervised release, two years after he was ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial and ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment. He pleaded guilty after receiving treatment.
In 2011, Daoud began using email accounts and internet forums to research and discuss “violent jihad and the killing of Americans,” court documents said.
Two undercover FBI employees began corresponding with Daoud in May 2012. Three months later, Daoud showed an undercover agent a list of 29 possible targets including military recruiting centres, bars, malls and other Chicago-area tourist attractions, the documents showed.
During later meetings, Daoud and the agent planned the attack that would involve a Jeep Cherokee and explosives that, unbeknownst to him, were inert.
On Sept. 14, 2012, Daoud met with the undercover agent in a Chicago suburb, and he led a prayer that the attack would succeed in killing many people as they drove the agent’s vehicle to downtown Chicago, according to court documents.
In downtown Chicago, Daoud picked up the Jeep that contained the purported explosives and drove it to the targeted bar. Daoud then walked to an alley about a block from the bar and tried to set off the device in the agent’s presence before FBI agents arrested him, the court documents said.
“Prior to the evening of the planned attack, Daoud had been preaching for violent jihad and expressed an interest in working with operational terrorists,” the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois said in a statement.
In two other cases against Daoud, he was accused of a murder-for-hire plot against an FBI agent in 2012 and attacking a fellow jail inmate in 2015, court papers showed. They were combined with the bomb plot case.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Peter Cooney)