The Justice Department announced Tuesday, two Chicago, Illinois, men were arrested by federal authorities on charges of plotting to commit terrorism abroad.
David Coleman Headley, 49, and Tahawwur Hussain Rana, 48, were charged with conspiracy to support or commit attacks against a Danish newspaper that published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed four years ago, the government said.
Their arrests are not related to a string of arrests of suspected terrorists across the United States in recent weeks, according to a Department of Justice news release.
Federal agents arrested Headley on October 3 at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Rana was arrested at his home on October 18, the department said. The arrests were kept secret until Tuesday to not compromise other investigations, the department said, CNN reports.
It was also reported, according to the criminal complaints, Mr. Headley allegedly identified and conducted surveillance of potential targets on two separate trips to Denmark in January and July 2009, and reported and attempted to report on his efforts to others involved in the plot in Pakistan. Mr. Rana's helped arrange Mr. Headley's travels overseas and discussed potential attack targets with Mr. Headley, according to the allegations in the complaint.
The published cartoons depicting Mohammed prompted protests by Muslims who said they were offensive.
In October 2008, Mr. Headley allegedly posted a message on an Internet discussion group saying of the published Danish cartoons: "I feel disposed towards violence for the offending parties" for "making fun of Islam," The Wall Street Journal reports.
News agencies also report, prosecutors say Mr Headley travelled to Denmark twice to plan an attack.
The justice department said it had uncovered "a serious plot against overseas targets," BBC News reports.