PITTSBURGH (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Syrian man who first arrived in New York as a refugee is now facing terror charges involving a bomb plot in Pennsylvania.
A criminal complaint alleges Mustafa Mousab Alowemer planned to bomb an unidentified church on Pittsburgh’s north side, and purchased materials he thought were necessary to build a bomb. He also allegedly provided plans and a map to an undercover FBI agent he thought was a fellow Islamic State supporter.
“Targeting places of worship is beyond the pale, no matter what the motivation,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said in a statement. “The defendant is alleged to have plotted just such an attack of a church in Pittsburgh in the name of ISIS.
The 21-year-old Alowemer, a Pittsburgh resident, is charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and two counts of distributing information relating to an explosive device or weapon of mass destruction.
Federal documents show he first arrived in the U.S. at JFK Airport in August of 2016. Then he moved to Pennsylvania, where he recently graduated high school.
According to the criminal complaint, Alowemer met several times between April and June with the undercover FBI agent and an FBI source. During one of the meetings, Alowemer allegedly provided plot details, bomb materials he’d purchased and printed copies of Google satellite maps with markings showing the location of the church plus arrival and escape routes.
Alowemer planned to carry out the bombing next month by delivering the explosives in a backpack, according to the complaint.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)