Arlington woman facing weapons charge after standoff

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by HOLLY YAN / The Dallas Morning News and REBECCA LOPEZ / WFAA-TV

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

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This story was originally published on July 18, 2007.

Two women who have been the subject of police scrutiny because of their activities at area airports had materials in their home that could be fashioned into explosive devices, officials say.

A pipe that had been fashioned into an illegal firearm was among the items fire officials seized from the Arlington home shared by Kimberly "Asma" Al-Homsi and Aisha Hamad, authorities said. Other items included black powder, shotgun shells, pipes and putty.

Ms. Al-Homsi "was putting different items together to make what appears to be illegal explosive devices," Arlington Assistant Fire Marshal Stephen Lea said. "They've got the components, but whether they'd function we don't know at this point."

Ms. Al-Homsi was arrested Monday on suspicion of possessing a prohibited weapon after police were involved in a standoff with Ms. Hamad at the house. But Ms. Al-Homsi, who has posted $3,000 bail, said the accusations are unfounded.

"They took my backpack and my bicycle bag ... and blew it up," she said. "There were no explosive materials inside of those bags or anywhere inside the house."

She said she's sick of being mistreated by law enforcement officials.

"I'm not a bad person, but they're trying to make me look like this vicious, evil person who wants to do harm," she said.

Ms. Al-Homsi and Ms. Hamad have drawn suspicion for their activities at Love Field and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport this year.

Authorities say they have been spotted apparently pacing off distances, watching planes with binoculars and driving near runways. The women say they were doing nothing wrong.

Ms. Al-Homsi has said she is friends with Wadih el Hage, a former Arlington resident and former personal secretary of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden who was given a life sentence for his role in a bombing conspiracy.

She said she's on a terrorism watch list and a no-fly list but denies any links to terrorism. Police officials have said they have no direct evidence that the women have ties to terrorism.

Arlington police were called to Ms. Al-Homsi's home Monday after her friend, Ms. Hamad, allegedly threatened her with a knife and barricaded herself from police for six hours.

Authorities said Ms. Hamad fired a paintball gun toward a tactical robot and, after a negotiator talked her out peacefully, fought with police while they were tried to handcuff her.

Ms. Hamad was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital for a mental evaluation. Arlington police say they will file an aggravated assault charge against her.

Police spokeswoman Christy Gilfour said officers searched the house on Wembley Road to make sure no one else was inside and notified the fire department after finding something suspicious.

"There was a pipe fashioned into an illegal firearm," Mr. Lea said. "People will take a pipe and make it where a bullet can fit in one end and a firing pin will cause the bullet to go off."

Mr. Lea said Tuesday that it was still unclear whether the items could actually function as explosive devices, but "just because they don't function doesn't mean they're not illegal devices."

Ms. Al-Homsi said the allegations are ridiculous.

"What prohibited weapon? There was nothing taken from this house that was a prohibited weapon," Ms. Al-Homsi said.

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