Idaho Teen Arrested after FBI Uncovers “Truly Horrific” Plot to Attack Churches for ISIS

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Idaho Teen Arrested after FBI Uncovers "Truly Horrific" Plot to Attack Churches for ISIS

The FBI has arrested an 18-year-old in Idaho after discovering a “violent plot” to attack churches in Coeur d’Alene on behalf of the terrorist group ISIS.

Alexander Mercurio is facing charges of attempting to provide material support or resources to foreign terrorist organizations.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement:

“The defendant allegedly pledged loyalty to ISIS and sought to attack people attending churches in Idaho, a truly horrific plan which was detected and thwarted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.”

“The Justice Department will continue to relentlessly pursue, disrupt, and hold accountable those who would commit acts of terrorism against the people and interests of the United States.”

The FBI said its investigation began when Mercurio “reached out to confidential human sources online and indicated his support for ISIS and terrorist organizations, more generally.”

“Mercurio spread ISIS propaganda online and solicited ISIS’s involvement in and approval of his propaganda efforts, discussed traveling from the United States to join ISIS, [and] considered and planned ways to support ISIS financially,” an FBI investigator wrote in the complaint.

“His attack plan involved using flame-covered weapons, explosives, knives, a machete, a pipe, and ultimately firearms,” the investigator added.

“His plan grew more precise as he eventually identified the specific church and date on which he planned to attack.”

According to investigators, Mercurio “made a ba’yah statement, pledging his allegiance to ISIS and stating his intention to die while killing others on behalf of ISIS.”

Fox News reported: FBI agents carried out a search warrant at Mercurio’s house and took him into custody while allegedly finding items linked to the plot, including a “metal pipe,” “a black Smith and Wesson fixed blade knife,” and a “machete,” according to the complaint.

CBS News reported:

In the newly released court documents, prosecutors described an evolution of beliefs beginning in 2022 when messages and posts allegedly revealed the teenager’s interest in ISIS and his parents’ apparent dissatisfaction with his religious beliefs. He stored media on his electronic devices including a jihadi chant, investigators said, and posted pro-ISIS material online.

Court documents revealed Mercurio also allegedly told members of a terror-affiliated group chat that he had previously been in contact with an individual who was later arrested for providing financial support to the terrorist group.

Earlier this year, he met at various points with a confidential FBI source and reiterated his desire to die a martyr. In meetings and via online messaging, Mercurio allegedly revealed that he planned to “donate every last cent in my bank to the State (ISIS)” and wanted to film a video message in support of ISIS before he carried out his attack.

Mercurio now faces up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted on the federal charge.

READ: Epstein Victims Sue FBI for ‘Covering Up’ Failed Investigation

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