WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – U.S. authorities have arrested five self-described anarchists in Cleveland for allegedly plotting to blow up a bridge, the U.S. Justice Department said today.
Officials said the suspects were not linked to any foreign terror group and were being monitored as part of an undercover FBI operation.
The five men, ranging in ages from 20 to 37, were arrested by FBI agents for allegedly conspiring to use explosives to destroy the four-lane Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge that crosses a national park, according to court papers.
The group initially plotted to attack other sites around the city, including trying to knock large bank signs off the top of downtown Cleveland office buildings as well as attack a center where federal, state and local authorities coordinate operations and resources known as a fusion center, according to document.
“The individuals charged in this plot were intent on using violence to express their ideological views,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony said in a statement.
The group had no ties to foreign terror organizations and the plot was not connected to the anniversary of the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a raid by U.S. forces a year ago, said a U.S. Justice Department official who declined to be further identified.
The men were expected to appear in federal court in Cleveland later today.