A Florida man has been charged in an alleged backpack bomb plot he planned to carry out on a public beach in Key West to show his support for the Islamic State militant group, the Department of Justice said on Tuesday.
Harlem Suarez, also known as Almlak Benitez, 23, of Key West, was arrested on Monday as part of an FBI sting operation and charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, the department said.
According to the criminal complaint, the FBI was alerted to Facebook posts made by Suarez in April of this year in which he expressed his support for Islamic State.
An FBI informant then made contact with Suarez, who told the informant that he wanted to carry out an attack in the United States.
Suarez also posted a request on Facebook asking how to make a bomb, saying “send me a video or something, and what do I need to make it.” In discussion with the informant, Suarez planned to make a bomb that would be detonated remotely by a cellphone, the complaint said.
The bomb, to contain galvanized nails, would have been hidden in a backpack, prosecutors allege.
Suarez was arrested when he received an inert bomb that had been prepared by FBI undercover agents.
It was not immediately possible to find out whether Suarez had retained a lawyer.
Numerous young men have been arrested in the United States in recent months, with many plotting ‘lone wolf attacks’ in support of Islamic State.