Feds charge alleged ISIS supporter in Tampa, allege he scouted targets for attack

The man wanted to execute a terrorist attack according to the DOJ

Justice Department building in Washington DC in December 2019
Justice Department building in Washington DC in December 2019
(Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
Last Updated:
May 27, 2020 - 11:08pm

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The Justice Department announced Wednesday that it has filed a criminal complaint against a U.S. citizen for allegedly "attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization."

The complaint describes 23-year-old Tampa resident Muhammed Momtaz Al-Azhari as an ISIS sympathizer who had scoped out possible target locations where he could execute an attack, including beaches and the FBI Tampa Field Office.

Al-Azhari had practiced parts of a future attack as well as comments he would make related to it, the complaint states. 

The complaint also describes Al-Azhari as "an admirer of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen" and says that he had conveyed a wish to perpetrate a similar attack. Omar Mateen perpetrated an attack at an Orlando nightclub in 2016, killing 49 people and injuring more than 50.

The complaint also alleges that he had "consumed ISIS propaganda" and expressed positive views of the terror group.

Al-Azhari, who had previously been convicted of charges relating to terrorism in Saudi Arabia, has recently obtained firearms including a Glock pistol and silencer, the complaint says.

“We are grateful for the quick work of our partners at the FBI to apprehend Al-Azhari before he could carry out his attack,” said John C. Demers, assistant attorney general for National Security. “This case demonstrates the Department’s commitment to stand vigilant against the threat of terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms.” 


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