′Islamic State′ supporter allegedly planned to attack Ohio synagogue | News | DW | 11.12.2018
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'Islamic State' supporter allegedly planned to attack Ohio synagogue

A man "fueled by an ideology of hatred" has been charged with attempting a major attack on a US synagogue. The suspect is said to have been inspired by the Pittsburgh synagogue attack in October in which 11 people died.

US federal authorities have charged a 21-year-old man with attempting to provide material support to the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group by allegedly planning an attack on a synagogue in Ohio.

The suspect "was allegedly inspired by ISIS' call to violence and hate," said John Demers, assistant attorney general for national security, referring to the militant group by an alternative acronym. The suspect "hoped that it would lead to the deaths of many and spread fear."

According to the Justice Department, the suspect expressed his support for IS several times and even produced propaganda material to recruit would-be jihadis. In September, he sent some of the videos he produced to an undercover FBI agent.

Weeks later, authorities said the suspect told the undercover agent that he supported "martyrdom operations," saying: "There will always be casualties of war." The Justice Department said he had also lambasted his local mosque for taking a critical stance against the militant group IS.

Read more: With 'Islamic State' in tatters, al-Qaida renews call for jihad

'Ideology of hatred'

The situation took a turn for the worse following the worst anti-Semitic attack on American soil in October, in which Robert Bowers killed 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. The suspect allegedly told the agent he admired the attack, adding: "I can see myself carrying out this type of operation."

In the weeks leading up to his arrest, he is said to have scoped out two synagogues and later detailed his plans to attack one of them to an agent. The suspect was arrested on Friday while he was attempting to pick up two AR-15 assault rifles from the FBI agent.

"This man spent months planning a violent terrorist attack on behalf of ISIS here in the United States, and eventually targeted a Jewish synagogue in the Toledo area," said US attorney Justin Herdman. "The charges describe a calculated man fueled by an ideology of hatred and intent on killing innocent people."

Read more: Opinion: The Pittsburgh synagogue attack is a wake-up call for Europe

Still a threat

IS rose to notoriety in 2014 when it launched a blitzkrieg offensive across the Middle East, culminating in the capture of Mosul, one of the largest cities in Iraq, and Raqqa, once considered its de facto capital.

While the group has suffered military defeat, law enforcement officials in Europe and the US have warned that battle-hardened foreign fighters attempting to return to their home countries pose a major security threat. Others have pointed to their ideology and its potential to radicalize as a significant risk to the public.

Read more: 'Islamic State': Up to 30,000 fighters still in Syria and Iraq, UN says

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ls/cmk (AP, AFP)

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