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In plan to attack recruiting center, echoes of Christmas tree bombing plot

A Baltimore resident is charged with attempting to explode a car bomb at a military recruiting center. Undercover FBI operatives posed as militant Muslims to catch the recent convert.

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Antonio Martinez, also known as Muhammad Hussain, of Baltimore faces charges of attempted murder and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction after authorities say he tried to detonate what he thought was a bomb at the Armed Forces Career Center in Catonsville, Md.

Steve Ruark/AP

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Another would-be jihad car bomber has been arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of an undercover sting operation.

Antonio Martinez, 21, of Baltimore appeared in federal court on Wednesday and was charged with attempting to explode a car bomb at a military recruiting station in Catonsville, Md.

There was no real bomb. It was all a setup arranged by undercover FBI sources and operatives posing as militant Muslims.

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But Mr. Martinez didn’t know that.

The case is similar to the Nov. 26 arrest of a 19-year-old Somali-American who was taken into custody after he attempted to use a cell phone to trigger what he thought would be a car bomb at a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Ore. The bomb was a fake. His would-be militant co-conspirators were undercover FBI operatives.

The Martinez operation followed the same strategy. The FBI used undercover operatives to conduct a series of conversations with Martinez, whom they suspected held radical ideas about taking violent action in the US.

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