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FBI Arrests Terrorist Supporter Over Plot to Attack Churches

( – ISIS-K terrorists attacked a concert hall in Russia, killing over 140 people. The FBI and Homeland Security recently warned about possible attacks on large gatherings in the US. Federal authorities have now arrested a teenager who was allegedly plotting to attack churches before the end of Ramadan.

On April 6, the FBI arrested Alexander Scott Mercurio in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The 18-year-old is charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS. According to the Department of Justice, he was allegedly plotting to attack people at churches.

Fox News reported that one investigator said the suspect wanted to use “flame-covered weapons, explosives, knives, a machete, a pipe and ultimately firearms.”

News reports indicated Mercurio also had a plan to use handcuffs to restrain his dad and then steal his firearms to ensure there were maximum casualties when he carried out the plot. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force learned about the alleged plot and then worked to stop it from happening.

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland stated the suspect allegedly “swore an oath of loyalty to ISIS and planned to wage an attack in its name on churches” in the resort town. He praised the FBI for its efforts. The AG pledged to continue pursuing, disrupting, and holding people accountable for trying to “commit acts of terrorism against the people and interests” of America.

US Attorney Josh Hurwit, who works in the District of Idaho, said members of the DOJ “have no higher calling than to protect” the country from terrorists. He said his office would always be “laser-focused” on that mission and thanked the FBI for uncovering and disrupting the alleged plot.

FBI Director Christopher Wray reiterated the allegations that Mercurio pledged his loyalty to the Middle Eastern terrorist group. He said the plan was “truly horrific,” and the investigation demonstrated the agency’s commitment to stop terrorist attacks.

Mercurio is facing a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted.

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