The Pentagon Package Threat


A person is in custody after apparently trying to place an explosive device at the Pentagon.  At least one other suspect fled from the scene on foot.  According to a CBS News report, these individuals were also suspected of planting suspicious devices at Arlington National Cemetery and the Iwo Jima Memorial.

A bomb squad has been going over the suspect’s vehicle, which was left parked in the bushes near the Pentagon’s north parking lot.  “A backpack containing what is believed to be five pounds of ammonium nitrate was found outside the vehicle,” according to Fox News.  ABC News says “spent 9mm casings” were also found in the backpack.  NBC News says an official told them “it looks like a bomb.”

Also recovered from the scene was a notebook containing “words like al-Qaeda and Taliban,” according to Fox.  The Pentagon says the suspect was in possession of “al-Qaeda related documents,” although it’s not clear if this is a reference to the same notebook.

The Associated Press reports that the suspect was found in the vicinity of Arlington National Cemetery in the wee hours, and led authorities to the vehicle and backpack.  No other information about the suspects has been released yet.

Update: At a press conference this morning, the FBI said the backpack contained a “non-explosive, unknown material,” although the contents were still described as “suspicious.”  The FBI confirmed the suspect was arrested in Arlington National Cemetery after it had closed for the night, and now believes he was acting alone.

Update: Authorities have identified the suspect as Yonathan Melaku, 22, a Muslim who serves as a lance corporal in the Marine Corps Reserve.  Some reports say he is a naturalized American of Ethiopian descent.  There is no record of him serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, according to a Fox News report.