Boston 'terror cell' wished to behead anti-Muslim blogger

Mrs Geller has been a frequent target of threats
Mrs Geller has been a frequent target of threats

Two men who plotted to "randomly" behead Boston police officers had initially planned to target a conservative blogger.

Pamela Geller is a harsh critic of political Islam who has often faced threats from jihadist groups.

She sponsored a competition to draw the prophet Muhammad which was attacked last month by two Islamic State-inspired gunmen in Texas. 

On Tuesday Boston police in shot dead a suspect who had been under watch.

Boston Police Commissioner William B Evans described the plan to target Mrs Geller as "more along the lines of wishful thinking."

"There was some mention of that name", Mr Evans told a television program on Thursday morning.

Early on Tuesday morning Usaama Rahim, 26, called his nephew, David Wright, 24, to inform him that the plan had changed and he now intended to "go after" the "boys in blue" according to a conversations recorded by the FBI.

Investigators believe "boys in blue" was code for Boston police officers.

Police pick up knife at crime scene
Boston police said Mr Rahim charged at them with a large knife

Two hours later Rahim was shot and killed while under surveillance by counter-terrorism officers.

Police say Rahim attacked officers with a large combat knife after being approached by five officers in the residential Roslindale neighbourhood.

He was shot three times and later died in hospital.

Michael McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Rahim had been "communicating with and spreading ISIS [Islamic State] propaganda online".

"These cases are a reminder of the dangers posed by individuals radicalised through social media," said Mr McCaul.

Facebook posts published by the Boston Globe newspaper show that Rahim had been contacted by the FBI in the past.

"Damn FBI calling my phone!" Rahim wrote in 2012. "They just want any opportunity to drag a Muslim into some DRAMA . . . He wanted to meet up with me and 'Talk.' HA! I said about WHAT?"

"Try again, monkey-boys . . ." he followed up in a later post.

David Wright appeared in court to face conspiracy charges
Mr Wright appeared in court to face conspiracy charges
Street in Everett
A home in Everett was raided and a man arrested

Rahim had worked for CVS since March but previously was a security guard, for a time employed at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center.

An investigation will be conducted by Boston Police and the FBI to determine if the shooting was justified.

David Wright was arrested later on Tuesday after a raid at his home in Everett, Massachusetts and now faces charges of conspiracy to obstruct an investigation.

Authorities also searched a home in Warwick, Rhode Island, but officials refused to say confirm it was linked to the Boston investigation.


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