A 21-year-old Syrian refugee was on Wednesday, 19 June, arrested by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) following accusations of plans to attack a church under the umbrella of ISIS.
The Syrian, Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, who entered the US as a refugee in 2016, purchased materials for making a bomb and had escape routes from the church planned, a criminal complaint said. The complaint stated further that Alowemer equally revealed a handwritten multi-point plan for the attack to an undercover agent representing the FBI.
Since Trump became president, the number of arrests related to ISIS has drastically reduced, perhaps because of the travel ban he placed on refugees and immigration from Syria and other countries prone to terror. Only a tiny percentage of refugees have been prosecuted on charges connected to ISIS in the US, Seamus Hughes, an expert on terror cases said. In 2015, a refugee couple from Bosnia were prosecuted for an attempt to provide material to ISIS and another two refugees were arrested in 2016 in connection to the terror group.
Alowemer said the planned attack on the Pittsburgh church is a revenge mission for ISIS brothers in Nigeria, the complaint said.
FBI has been on the trail of Syrian April 2018 when he was noticed to be an active follower of ISIS propaganda online and contacted another supporter of the group who shared bomb-making instructions online.
He also contacted an undercover FBI agent, whom he thought was an ISIS supporter too, and requested for weapons after sharing a video of his allegiance to ISIS with the agent. He also bought materials including nails, batteries, among many others on his bomb-making mission.
He is due to appear in court on Friday, 21 June.
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