Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | syria | ISIS | church | bombing | pittsburgh

ISIS Supporter Arrested After Planning Attack on Pittsburgh Church

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By    |   Wednesday, 19 June 2019 08:40 PM

A Syrian refugee plotted to bomb a Pittsburgh church next month “in the name of ISIS” and to avenge his fellow jihadi, federal authorities charged.

Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, 21, of Pittsburgh, was arrested Wednesday for allegedly planning to bomb an unidentified church on the city's north side — and bought materials to build a bomb, the Justice Department said in a statement.

He also allegedly provided plans and a map to an undercover FBI agent posing as an ISIS supporter.

"Targeting places of worship is beyond the pale, no matter what the motivation," Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said in the statement. "The defendant is alleged to have plotted just such an attack of a church in Pittsburgh in the name of ISIS.”

Alowemer was hit with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and distributing information relating to an explosive device or weapon of mass destruction.

According to a criminal complaint, Alowemer, who was born in Daraa, Syria, and came to the United States as a refugee in 2016, met several times between April and June with an  undercover FBI agent and an FBI source.

During one of the meetings, Alowemer allegedly provided plot details, bomb materials — including nail polish remover, batteries, ice packs, and nails — and printed copies of Google satellite maps with markings showing the location of the church plus arrival and escape routes.

Alowemer planned to carry out the bombing next month by delivering the explosives in a backpack, according to the complaint.

During preparation, Alowemer described the church as “Nigerian” and “mushrikeen,” an Arabic term for those who commit idolatry, and called for using a bomb big enough to “destroy it all” in comments to the undercover agent, according to the complaint.

“They are all polytheists. We, we, take revenge for our brothers in Nigeria,” Alowemer told the undercover agent.

“This operation must be done on a Sunday night in order to shock the enemies of Allah almighty everywhere and all over America,” he allegedly wrote in a set of instructions for the plot, adding that the attack would prevent Americans “from going to their churches and instill fear in their hearts,” the Daily Beast reported.

Alowemer also allegedly discussed the possibility of targeting Yazidi families in the city, a Shia mosque, and a U.S. military member before settling on the church as a target.

Prior to the bomb plot, Alowemer corresponded with another undercover agent and allegedly expressed his allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Daily Beast reported.

“By Allah my brother, I'm burning from inside for what happened to the Muslims in New Zealand,” he was quoted as writing to the agent, referring to the Christchurch mosque shooting earlier this year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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A Syrian refugee plotted to bomb a Pittsburgh church next month "in the name of ISIS" and to avenge his fellow jihadi, federal authorities charged....
syria, ISIS, church, bombing, pittsburgh
Wednesday, 19 June 2019 08:40 PM
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