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FBI Foils Terror Plot Against Pennsylvania Church

June 19, 2019, the FBI Pittsburgh Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) arrested a 21-year-old male suspect in connection with an ISIS-inspired terrorist attack plot targeting a place of worship. The suspect was motivated to detonate a device at the church to garner support for ISIS’s cause and to inspire other ISIS sympathizers in the United States. In preparation for the attack, the suspect conducted surveillance on the church, plotted escape routes, and purchased bomb-making materials, to include batteries, nails for fragmentation, and household chemicals.

While plotting his attack, the suspect distributed multiple documents related to IED construction to an individual he believed was a fellow ISIS supporter but was in actuality an undercover FBI agent. During his communications with FBI operatives, the suspect stated his support for ISIS and his desire to answer the call for jihad. The suspect was born in Daraa, Syria, and was admitted into the United States as a refugee in August 2016.

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