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Student Nurse Charged with Attempting to Bomb Maternity Ward - Islamic Terrorism Suspected

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A young man saw his first day in an English court Friday as he was charged with attempting to bomb a hospital in northern England.

The suspect, a student nurse identified as Mohammad Farooq, allegedly planned to use a homemade pressure-cooker bomb on the maternity ward of St. James University Hospital, where he worked.

According to the Associated Press, Farooq is facing multiple charges including preparing an act of terrorism, possessing an explosive substance and possessing an imitation firearm.

Prosecutors said the student was motivated by Islamic extremism.

Farooq was arrested on Jan. 20 just outside of St. James’s maternity ward in Leeds. He apparently held a grudge against a fellow staff member there, according to the AP.

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As reported by the Telegraph, Farooq was arrested after he was reported as “acting suspiciously” close to the ward, prompting authorities to evacuate parts of the hospital and call in an army bomb squad.

Upon being taken into custody, investigators said they discovered that Farooq also potentially intended to attack a nearby Royal Air Force base.

According to prosecutors, the suspect had conducted “hostile reconnaissance” on the base earlier this month. He was encouraged to attack the base by online sources, the AP reported.

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British counter-terrorism authorities termed the man’s alleged activities as an isolated incident, according to the BBC.

James Dunkerley, head of Counter-Terrorism Policing North East, told the Telegraph, “We are satisfied that there is currently no evidence of an increased risk to the public, within our communities or the UK hospital estate, in connection with this investigation.”

However, Dunkerley told residents to remain vigilant.

“Despite this, the UK threat level remains at Substantial, and history has shown us we can’t afford to be complacent. Public vigilance is invaluable in supporting the efforts of Counter Terrorism Policing and its partners to protect our communities from harm.”

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“We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from the public during this investigation. We’d particularly like to thank the staff and patients at St James’s Hospital for their patience and cooperation throughout the disruption last Friday,” he added.

Farooq appeared on a video link for his first hearing on Friday at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the Guardian reported.

No pleas were entered, the AP reported.

He was ordered to be detained until his next hearing on Feb.  3  at London’s Central Criminal Court.

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