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) -- A 20-year-old Saudi man has been arrested by federal agents in Texas on charges that he was planning to make a bomb for use in a terrorist attack inside the United States, the

Justice Department said in a statement on Thursday


Saudi Arabian citizen Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, was arrested Wednesday on a federal charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction after he allegedly purchased the chemicals and equipment needed to make an improvised explosive device.

The affidavit filed in support of the complaint alleges that Aldawsari purchased most of the components and chemicals necessary to construct a bomb after researching online how to put together a homemade explosive device.

He also conducted online research of several potential U.S. targets, the affidavit claims, and often emailed research on targets and explosives to himself.

"As alleged in the complaint, Aldawsari purchased ingredients to construct an explosive device and was actively researching potential targets in the United States," Assistant Attorney General Kris said. "Thanks to the efforts of many agents, analysts and prosecutors, this plot was thwarted before it could advance further."

The affidavit claims that Aldawsari researched how to convert a cellular phone into a remote detonator, and emailed himself the instructions.

Aldawsari also allegedly expressed his desire for martyrdom in a personal journal found in his residence. In one entry he apparently explained how he wanted to come to the United States to commit a terrorist attack. Aldawsari was admitted into the country in 2008 on a student visa and is enrolled at South Plains College in Texas.

Aldawsari is expected to make his first appearance in federal court in Lubbock, Texas on Friday morning. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

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Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

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