Two Chicago men have been charged in what officials said was a plot to attack employees of a Danish newspaper that in 2005 published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that offended many Muslims, according to criminal complaints unsealed Tuesday in federal court in Chicago.
The most serious charges, conspiracy to murder and maim in a foreign country, were filed against David Coleman Headley, who was born in the United States, lived in Pakistan and now resides in Chicago.
The federal authorities said Mr. Headley told agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that he had initially targeted a building occupied by the Danish newspaper, Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten in Copenhagen, but later proposed killing the paper’s cartoonist and cultural editor instead.
The arrests were the latest in what federal officials acknowledged was a surprising surge of unrelated terrorism arrests in recent weeks, highlighted by last month’s indictment of Najibullah Zazi, a Denver airport shuttle bus driver who has been accused of conspiring to detonate improvised explosives in an attack against an undetermined target, possibly in New York.
The officials offered no specific reason for the increased arrests, though they said some cases involved young men in the United States inspired to militancy by fiery religious appeals on the Internet and in other media outlets rather than by direct contact with terrorist groups.
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