June 17, 2015 / 5:55 PM / 4 years ago

New York man attacks FBI agent in Islamic State-tied probe: U.S.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York City man was arrested on Wednesday after authorities said he tried to stab an FBI agent executing a search warrant in connection with an alleged plot to carry out an attack in support of the militant group Islamic State.

Fareed Mumuni, 21, was charged with attempting to murder a federal officer after authorities came to his residence in the borough of Staten Island, according to a complaint filed in federal court in Brooklyn.

His arrest was the third so far in an investigation that came to light on Tuesday when authorities unveiled charges against a college student from the borough of Queens whom they called a “fervent supporter” of Islamic State militants.

Munther Omar Saleh, the student, was arrested on Saturday after he and another man ran toward a surveillance vehicle that had been tracking their movements, according to court papers.

The other man, who was also arrested, has not yet been publicly identified.

Mumuni appeared briefly in federal court in Brooklyn, wearing a religious robe and flip-flops, and was ordered held without bail.

Authorities have said Saleh spent hours online researching how to build a pressure-cooker bomb and reading accounts of the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

According to the complaint filed on Wednesday, Mumuni had assisted Saleh, at one point discussing the prospect of attacking law enforcement with a bomb.

When authorities arrived at Mumuni’s residence Wednesday morning to execute a search warrant, he ignored commands to move to a couch and instead lunged at officers with a kitchen knife, the complaint said.

An FBI agent wearing body armor suffered only minor injuries after Mumuni repeatedly tried to stab him, the complaint said.

Following his arrest, Mumuni told FBI agents he had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, according to authorities. He said he intended to travel overseas to join the group and, if he could not, would attack law enforcement officers.

Anthony Ricco, Mumuni’s court-appointed defense lawyer, told reporters Mumuni was a “quiet, soft-spoken, very bright young man” and that his relatives, some of whom attended the hearing, were surprised by the charges.

Mumuni, a U.S. citizen, grew up in Staten Island and studied social work at the College of Staten Island, Ricco said.

Ricco acknowledged Mumuni and Saleh know each other but declined to comment further on the allegations.

Additional reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Scott Malone and Tom Brown

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