US soldier accused of communicating with Islamic State in plot to blow up 9/11 Memorial

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NEW YORK (AP) — A U.S. Army soldier was arrested Tuesday in Georgia on terrorism charges after he spoke online about plots to blow up New York City’s 9/11 Memorial and attack U.S. soldiers in the Middle East, authorities said Tuesday.

Cole James Bridges of Stow, Ohio, was in custody on charges of attempted material support of a terrorist organization — the Islamic State group — and attempted murder of a military member, said Nicholas Biase, a spokesperson for Manhattan federal prosecutors.

The 20-year-old soldier, also known as Cole Gonzales, was with the Third Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Georgia, when he thought he was communicating with the Islamic State online about the terrorism plots, Biase said.

Unbeknownst to Bridges, a federal agent was in on the chat as Bridges provided detailed instructions on tactics and manuals and advice about attacking the memorial and other targets in New York City, Biase said.

Bridges was scheduled to make an initial appearance in federal court in Georgia on Thursday.

It was not immediately clear who would represent him.

Fort Stewart officials had no immediate comment Tuesday, said Kevin Larson, a spokesperson for the Army post.

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