Florida man accused of plotting mass shooting in the name of the Islamic State
Article RadarTHIS ARTICLE CONNECT:
- Muhammed Momtaz Al-Azhari Muhammed Momtaz Al-Azhari is a Tampa man who is charged with...[+]
- Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]
Affected Countries: united-states;
The FBI has taken a 23-year-old Tampa man into custody after the U.S. Department of Justice accused him of acquiring weapons to carry out a mass shooting—and already scouting potential targets in the Tampa area—on behalf of ISIS.
In a news release, the Department of Justice said Muhammed Momtaz Al-Azhari has been charged with attempting to provide “material support” to ISIS, with an accompanying 63-page complaint outlining the FBI sting operation that led to Al-Azhari’s arrest that could lead to a 20-year prison sentence if he’s convicted.
The complaint claims that Al-Azhari spent extensive time online trying to illegally purchase weapons, while also spending time in ISIS-centric chat rooms and researching how to make a bomb.
The Department of Justice specifically noted that Al-Azhari scouted Honeymoon Island, a Gulf Coast barrier island home to a state park, as a site for an attack.
The complaint says that Al-Azhari also recorded videos of himself showing off firearms, saying, “God willing, the exalted, the Islamic State is lasting” at the end of one.
Al-Azhari, who is a U.S. citizen, also expressed support for Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, according to the Department of Justice, who killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub in 2016 in what was at the time the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
An attorney for Al-Azhari denied the charge—attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization—saying in a statement to WFLA-TV that the charge is an “unfairly attempt to portray this United States citizen as a terrorist.”