PITTSBURGH (AP/KDKA) — A Syrian refugee charged with plotting to bomb a Pittsburgh church to inspire followers of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS) has been held for court.

The judge determined Friday morning the government presented enough probable cause to continue with Mustafa Alowemer’s case.

Alowemer was wearing an orange jumpsuit for the preliminary examination and detention hearing.

His detention hearing was waived for now. He has been ordered detained.

KDKA’s Meghan Schiller reports from federal court that Alowemer’s defense attorney said he did not think the government put forth enough probable cause for the case to continue. He described his client’s actions as “puffery” and “bragging.”

He said his client’s alleged purchases of several items from a hardware store did not “constitute a plan.” He said you can’t make a bomb out “those four items.” Those items he was referring to include acetone, nails, ice packs and nine-volt batteries.

But FBI agent Gary Morgan testified during the hearing that Alowemer originally wanted two bombs to go off – one in the early morning and one when law enforcement would be responding.

A criminal complaint alleges Alowemer planned to bomb the Legacy International Worship Center on Pittsburgh’s North Side, and purchased the materials he thought were necessary to build a bomb. He also allegedly provided plans and a map to an undercover FBI agent he thought was a fellow Islamic State supporter.

Following the hearing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office held a news conference.

“As we know, the threat posed by terrorist organizations is real and they’re reaching across our borders to spread their ideologies of hate,” said U.S. Attorney Scott Brady. “We want those who embrace those ideologies of hate to know that we will find you, we will prosecute you, and we will bring you to justice. The men and women of law enforcement stand on guard. They stand on guard to keep our community safe and to protect our freedoms.”

WATCH: U.S. Attorney, FBI Pittsburgh News Conference —


 

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The 21-year-old Syrian came to the U.S. as a refugee in 2016.

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