Samy Mohamed Hamzeh, a 23-year-old resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was arrested after officials charged he was in the final stages of a plan to commit mass murder inside one of the city’s Masonic temples, the FBI said Tuesday.
Hamzeh was arrested Monday after he attempted to buy two automatic weapons and a silencer from undercover FBI agents, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced.
In the complaint, Hamzeh expressed a clear intention to defend the “Muslim religion.”
“We are here defending Islam, young people together join to defend Islam,” he allegedly said in conversations recorded by officials.
Officials said Hamzeh explained he would be satisfied if he killed 30 people. “I will be happy 100%. . . . 100% happy, because these 30 will terrify the world,” he said, according to the complaint.
The alleged terrorist was planning on an act “that could have resulted in significant injury and/or loss of life,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert J. Shields in the complaint.
Hamzeh had also expressed a bloodthirst for the lives of Israeli soldiers. In October, he was recorded discussing plans to travel into the West Bank through Jordan to target Israelis living in the area. For “family, financial, and logistical reasons,” the FBI said Hamzeh gave up on those plans and, instead, decided to hone in on the Masonic temple.
The aspiring terrorist discussed his plans to target the facility with two men who appear to have been future accomplices, according to the complaint. Speaking in Arabic, he said in remarks translated by officials:
“[O]ne of us will stay at the door at the entrance and lock the door down, he will be at the main door down, two will get to the lift up, they will enter the room, and spray everyone in the room. The one who is standing downstairs will spray anyone he finds. We will shoot them, kill them and get out.”
“The minute we get in, we shoot whoever is in front of us, and all have to be eliminated. One stays down and two will go up quickly. … And we will eliminate everyone.”
After the successful operation, “all the Mujahedeen (Islamic holy warriors) will be talking and they will be proud of us … such operations will increase in America,” Hamzeh said, according to the complaint.
The Masons “are the ones that needs to be killed, not the Shi’iat,” he added, the complaint stated.