Florida man pleads guilty to supporting ISIS

st. petersburg, florida –

A Florida man accused of planning a terrorist attack in the United States in 2020 and acquiring an arsenal of weapons has pleaded guilty to trying to provide material support to the Islamic State militant group.

Mohammed Al-Azhari, a 25-year-old US citizen, also agreed to accept an 18-year prison sentence at a judicial hearing before US magistrate Anthony Porcelli in Tampa federal court on Thursday. A formal sentencing date has not been set.

In court documents, al-Azari admitted to spying on potential terrorist targets in the Tampa Bay area, attempting to acquire multiple weapons and pledging allegiance to Islamic State. I have recorded many conversations with top secret or undercover sources. In it, he discussed revenge on imprisoned Islamic State fighters and the use of force to oppose US military action in the Middle East.

According to an FBI affidavit, al-Azari was recorded as paying tribute to Omar Mateen, the shooter who died in the 2016 Orlando Pals nightclub massacre, and drove there to investigate the location. I even drove a According to the FBI, in a conversation with a confidential informant, Al-Azari said, “To be honest, I would like to die like that.”

The informant then asked how many people Al-Azari wanted to kill.

According to an affidavit, Al-Azhari said in the recording, “I don’t want four or five. I want at least 50.” “You know, brother Omar Mateen from Orlando did. He took 49.”

A top-secret FBI informant eventually provided Al-Azari with a Glock handgun and silencer as requested. He was arrested in May 2020 after possessing a weapon. Investigators also seized three firearms, a crossbow, dozens of rounds of ammunition, a stun gun and at least six of Al-Azari’s knives. He also attempted to purchase a fully automatic AK-47 style weapon for him, but was unsuccessful.

According to affidavits, al-Azari conducted reconnaissance against several potential Tampa Bay targets, including beaches, parks and even the FBI field office in Tampa. He also allegedly rehearsed what he would say when carrying out the attack, some of which was intercepted by electronic surveillance.

According to the affidavit, “Know America. Today is your emergency. Today we will kill you as you killed us.” I made it “This is revenge on Muslims.”

According to the FBI, Alazari was originally from California but spent most of his life abroad, eventually embracing extremist Islamic ideology. He was jailed for three years in Saudi Arabia after being convicted in 2015 of being involved in defending Jaish al-Islam, an armed militant group fighting in the Syrian conflict.

In 2018, after serving that sentence, he was deported to the United States, where the FBI immediately launched a terrorist sponsorship investigation.

One of the reasons the case has taken so long to resolve is that in January 2022 Al-Azari was declared mentally incapable of standing trial. had been restored.

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