- Associated Press - Saturday, September 15, 2012

HILLSIDE, Ill. — Undercover FBI agents arrested an 18-year-old American man who tried to detonate what he believed was a car bomb outside a downtown Chicago bar, federal prosecutors said Saturday.

Adel Daoud, a U.S. citizen from the Chicago suburb of Hillside, was arrested Friday night in an undercover operation in which an agent pretending to be a terrorist provided him with a phony car bomb and watched him press the trigger, prosecutors said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago, which announced the arrest Saturday, said the device was harmless and the public was never at risk.

Daoud is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to damage and destroy a building with an explosive. He remains in custody pending a detention and preliminary hearing set for Monday in federal court.

A person who answered the phone Saturday at the home where Daoud and his family live and identified herself as his sister, Hiba, declined to discuss Daoud, the family or the arrest.

“We don’t even know anything. We don’t know that much. We know as little as you do,” she said. “They’re just accusations. … We’d like to be left alone.”

Later Saturday, no one answered the door of the family’s two-story home, which had a well-kept garden in the yard and a basketball hoop in the driveway. The house faces a Lutheran church; a Greek Orthodox church also is nearby.

Next-door neighbor Harry Pappas said he was shocked by the arrest, calling Daoud’s parents “wonderful” people and him a quiet boy who played basketball in the driveway with friends.

“I heard maybe he had a little trouble in school,” Pappas said. “He was quiet, didn’t talk much, but he seemed like a good kid.”

Pappas said Daoud spent a lot of time at home and that months would go by sometimes before the teen would surface.

“But I was never suspicious,” he said.

Then on Friday night, a dozen unmarked cars drove up to the family’s house and several agents went inside, Pappas said.

The FBI began monitoring Daoud after he started using an email account to get and distribute material about violent jihad and the killing of Americans, prosecutors said.

In May, two undercover FBI agents contacted Daoud in response to the material and exchanged electronic messages with him in which he expressed an interest in violent jihad in the United States or abroad, according to an affidavit by an FBI special agent.

Prosecutors say one of those agents introduced Daoud to a third undercover agent who claimed to be a terrorist living in New York.

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