US Muslim is arrested over motel bomb find

AN AMERICAN Muslim soldier has been arrested and bomb-making materials found in his motel room near Fort Hood, Texas, the FBI said yesterday.

Private Naser Abdo was absent without leave. He was taken into custody after "concerned citizens" contacted the authorities. Fort Hood is the army base where 13 people were killed in a 2009 shooting rampage blamed on an army psychiatrist.

FBI spokesman Erik Vasys said agents found firearms and "items that could be identified as bomb-making components, including gunpowder," in his motel room.

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Mr Vasys said the FBI planned to charge Abdo with possessing bomb-making components, at which time he would be transferred into federal custody. He said there was nothing to indicate Abdo was "working with others".

Abdo has been absent without leave from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, since early July.

"I would emphasise that any threat that Abdo posed is now over," Mr Vasys said yesterday. "Suffice it to say we're looking into all aspects of Mr Abdo's life to determine his motivations and intentions."

The infantry soldier whose hometown the US military lists as Garland, Texas, had applied for conscientious objector status last year.

His discharge was delayed after Abdo was charged with possessing child pornography. A military hearing last month recommended Abdo for a court-martial.

Abdo has said he thought he was charged because he was seeking to leave the army.