Iraqi citizen in Ohio arrested over alleged plot to kill George W. Bush

The suspect, 52-year-old Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, faces up to 20 years in prison for involvement in the attempted murder of a former U.S. official

Updated: May 24, 2022 - 3:43pm

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The FBI arrested an Iraqi citizen living in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday as he faces federal charges connected to an alleged plot to assassinate former President George W. Bush. 

The suspect, 52-year-old Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, planned on smuggling another Iraqi citizen into the United States for $40,000, but the so-called Iraqi was actually a fake person created by the FBI, according to a Department of Justice press release

Shihab allegedly also planned to smuggle four more Iraqi foreign nationals into America to help him assassinate former President Bush "in retaliation of Iraqi deaths during 'Operation Iraqi Freedom,'" the DOJ stated, adding, "Shihab then allegedly planned to smuggle the four out of the United States via the United States/Mexico border after they carried out the assassination."

The Iraqi national even traveled to Dallas to scout out locations associated with Bush and met with people in a Columbus hotel room to look at firearms and law enforcement uniforms, officials say.

"President Bush has all the confidence in the world in the United States Secret Service and our law enforcement and intelligence communities," Bush's chief of staff, Freddy Ford, wrote in a press release, according to CNN.

He entered the United States in September 2020 with a visitor visa before filing an asylum claim for U.S. citizenship in March 2021, and his claim is still pending. 

Shihab faces 10 years in prison for attempting to illegally smuggle a person into the United States and up to 20 years in prison for aiding and abetting the attempted murder of a former U.S. official.