Feds: Chicago-area man charged over attempted terrorist attack

CHICAGO (CNN) -- The FBI said Saturday it has arrested an 18-year-old American man who allegedly tried to blow up a car bomb in front of a downtown Chicago bar.

Adel Daoud, of the Chicago suburb of Hillside, was taken into custody Friday night after a "rigorous" undercover operation, the FBI said. He made an initial appearance Saturday before a U.S. magistrate judge and has a preliminary hearing Monday afternoon.

"The explosives that Daoud allegedly attempted to detonate posed no threat to the public. They were inert and had been supplied by undercover law enforcement personnel," said Gary Shapiro, the acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Daoud, a U.S. citizen, was charged Saturday with one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, namely explosives, and one count of attempting to damage and destroy a building by means of an explosive, the FBI said.

If convicted, he faces a maximum of life in prison for the first charge and 20 years for the second.

CNN could not determine Saturday whether Daoud had an attorney.

According to the FBI, Daoud began sending e-mails in October of last year that regarded violent jihad and the killing of Americans. In May, undercover agents contacted Daoud, who "confirmed his belief in the propriety of killing Americans in a terrorist attack," either in the United States or overseas, and started seeking online resources for an attack, the FBI said.

Another undercover agent who said he was an operational terrorist started dealing with Daoud, who drafted a list of approximately 29 potential targets, including military recruiting centers, bars, malls, and other tourist attractions in the Chicago area, according to the affidavit filed Saturday in federal court.

He then selected, researched and surveilled a target for attack with an explosive device supplied by the undercover agent, the FBI said.

Daoud and the undercover agent met Friday night and drove to downtown Chicago with plans to blow up a car bomb in front of a bar. During the drive, Daoud led the undercover agent in a prayer that the pair -- Daoud and the agent -- succeed in their attack, kill many people, and cause destruction, the FBI said.

They drove up to a Jeep containing the purported explosive device, the FBI said, and Daoud then parked it in front of the downtown bar.

According to the affidavit, Daoud walked to a nearby alley and, in the presence of the undercover agent, attempted to detonate the device. He was then arrested.