FBI: Syrian refugee arrested for allegedly planning to bomb Pittsburgh church in support of ISIS

A Pittsburgh resident was arrested Wednesday on terrorism charges after allegedly planning an attack on a Christian Church in the name of ISIS, according to the Justice Department. 

Court documents and the FBI Pittsburgh Joint Terrorism Task Forces unit investigation allege that Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, 21, plotted to bomb a church on Pittsburgh’s North Side, according to Department of Justice officials. 

DOJ Officials said Alowemer, who was admitted to the United States as a Syrian refugee on Aug. 1, 2016, was arrested based on a federal complaint that charged him with one count of attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State, a designated foreign terrorist organization.


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The Department of Justice said Alowemer claims his motivation was to “take revenge for our [ISIS] brothers in Nigeria.” 

Alowemer is also charged with two counts of distributing information relating to an explosive, destructive device or weapon of mass destruction. 

Officials said Alowemer distributed “instructional documents” related to the explosives to an individual he believed to be a fellow ISIS supporter, but who was an undercover FBI agent. 

Alowemer met with the undercover FBI agent and another bureau source four times in person between April 16 and June 11, according to the DOJ.

According to the FBI, Alowemer provided additional details about the bomb plot and presented the materials with which he planned to build the device at the June 11 meeting.

He is being held by authorities and is set to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy on Friday for a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

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