NEW YORK — A man charged with plotting to attack police and soldiers with homemade bombs pleaded not guilty Tuesday to rarely used state-level terrorism charges.

Jose Pimentel nearly whispered “not guilty” in a case authorities describe as bringing down an overt al-Qaida sympathizer who was building a pipe bomb to act on his violent beliefs, but his lawyers call an example of police overreaching.

A Dominican-born Muslim convert also known as Muhammad Yusuf, Pimentel had a website detailing his belief in jihad, or holy war, and said he believed Muslims were obligated to attack Americans as retailiation for U.S. military action in Muslim countries, authorities said.

Pimentel told an informant he wanted to attack targets that included police cars and stations, post offices and soldiers returning home from abroad, authorities said. He was arrested while making his homemade bomb in November, according to prosecutors and police.

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