PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The man suspected of plotting a bomb attack on a Pittsburgh church has been indicted on federal terrorism charges.
Mustafa Alowemer, 21, is accused of planning to bomb the Legacy International Worship Center on the North Side.
U.S. Attorney Scott Brady says a federal grand jury has now returned a three-count indictment against Alowemer.
The indictment charges him with one count of attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS, and two counts of distributing information relating to an explosive, destructive device or weapon of mass destruction.
Alowemer is currently being held in federal custody.
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He is a refugee from Syria and was living in the city’s Northview Heights section until his arrest. He had recently graduated from Brashear High School.
At a hearing last month at Pittsburgh’s federal courthouse, Alowemer was held for trial.
U.S. Attorney Soo Song told the judge that Alowemer slowly fine-tuned his plan of attack. She said he wrote his intentions online, and then handwrote those plans, including a 10-point guide where he placed X’s and checkmarks as he worked through the list.
She said he plotted, researched and then scouted out his target.
However, Alowemer’s defense attorney said his client is just a young man engaged in “puffery” and “bragging.” He also said that buying those items at a convenience or hardware store, including acetone and nails and batteries, does not constitute a plan. He said he didn’t think anyone could “make a bomb out of those four things.”
Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.