June 18, 2011 in Nation/World

Reservist arrested near Pentagon

Associated Press
 

ARLINGTON, Va. – A Marine Corps reservist carrying a backpack containing what initially appeared to be bomb-making material was detained near the Pentagon early Friday, but authorities later said the suspicious items were not explosive.

Yonathan Melaku, 22, of Alexandria, Va., was discovered after 1 a.m. Friday inside Arlington National Cemetery, several hours after it had closed.

As officials investigated the contents of Melaku’s bag and his car parked nearby, roads were closed around the Pentagon, snarling rush hour traffic for hours.

Melaku, a naturalized citizen originally from Ethiopia, was detained for trespassing after becoming uncooperative, authorities said, but hadn’t been charged as of Friday night.

Melaku had a bag with a substance that at least initially was feared to be ammonium nitrate, which can be used in explosives with the correct concentration and is also widely used in fertilizers, according to a second law enforcement official. But the official said there was nothing in Melaku’s possession that could have detonated or caused an explosion.

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