Syrian Refugee Arrested for Plotting to Bomb Pittsburgh Church for ISIS

The building at 2131 Wilson Avenue in Pittsburgh that is now the site of Legacy International Worship Center.
Google Maps

A Syrian refugee who came to the United States three years ago has been charged in an ISIS-inspired plot to bomb a Christian church in Pittsburgh, the Justice Department said Wednesday.

Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, 21, recorded a video of himself pledging an oath of allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State group and bought bomb-making materials for a FBI undercover employee and a FBI confidential source to use in an attack, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He was arrested Wednesday and charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS and two counts of distributing information about making bombs in relation to the planned assault.

“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.”

Court documents say Alowemer provided Google satellite maps to the FBI undercover employee and the confidential source describing routes of arrival and escape to the church. The FBI identified the site of the attack as the Legacy International Worship Center, court documents say.

Alowemer never obtained any explosives. Prosecutors say he thought that the undercover employee and the confidential source, whom he believed were fellow ISIS supporters, would be involved in the construction of the bombs with him.

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SOURCE: NBC News, Tom Winter