A Queens woman who planned to build a bomb to be used in a US terrorist attack was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a federal judge on Thursday, according to a US attorney’s office.
Asia Siddiqui, along with her co-defendant Noelle Velentzas, pleaded guilty last year to planning to make a bomb for use in an attack inside the United States, according to a news release from the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District. Velentzas is awaiting sentencing.
“Lives were saved when the defendants’ plot to detonate a bomb in a terrorist attack was thwarted by the tireless efforts of law enforcement,” US Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said.
Siddiqui, 35, and Velentzas, 31, are both US citizens and residents of the New York borough of Queens. They pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn in August 2019.
In the news release, authorities said the pair planned between 2013 and 2015 to build a bomb for use in an attack in the United States, taught each other chemistry and electrical skills and purchased materials to make an explosive device.
Assistant Attorney General John Demers said the women were “inspired by radical Islam.”
The pair discussed similar devices used in past terrorist attacks, including the Boston Marathon bombing and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and were focusing on law enforcement and military targets, authorities said.
Velentzas praised the 9/11 attacks and said being a martyr through a suicide attack guaranteed entrance into heaven, according to prosecutors.
After their arrest, the women pleaded not guilty in 2015. When the women were arrested, police found propane gas tanks, soldering tools, car bomb instructions, jihadist literature, machetes and several knives in their homes, the release said.