FBI: Syrian Refugee Who Pledged Allegiance to ISIS Arrested for Pittsburgh Church Bomb Plot

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U.S. authorities announced Wednesday the arrest of a 21-year-old Syrian man on terror charges in relation to an alleged plot to bomb a church in Pittsburgh.

Mustafa Mousab Alowemer was taken into custody on Wednesday and charged with one count of “attempting to provide material support ISIS, and two counts of distributing information relating to an explosive, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction in relation to his plan to attack a church,” according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh

The affidavit states the FBI’s Pittsburgh branch undercovered a plot by Alowemer to bomb the Legacy International Worship Center on the North Side.

“Our top priority is protecting the citizens of western Pennsylvania,” said U.S. Attorney Brady in a statement. “Every day investigators and prosecutors work tirelessly behind the scenes to disrupt terrorist activity and keep our community safe. While the public does not always see the results of the hard work of these dedicated men and women, this case is a visible demonstration of our commitment to rooting out terrorists and bringing them to justice.”

Information provided to law enforcement by the Department of Homeland Security shows Alowemer was born in Daraa, Syria and granted refugee status in the United States on August 1st, 2016. He is said to have recorded a video of himself pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. Both the FBI and local police are conducting a search of the suspect’s Northview Heights home.

“Targeting places of worship is beyond the pale, no matter what the motivation,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said. “The defendant is alleged to have plotted just such an attack of a church in Pittsburgh in the name of ISIS. The National Security Division and our partners will continue our efforts to identify and bring to justice individuals in our country who seek to commit violence on behalf of ISIS and other terrorist organizations. I want to thank the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this investigation.”

Read the full criminal complaint here.


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