(UPI) — The FBI on Monday announced the arrest of a “radicalized” Philadelphia man who was plotting to bomb a July Fourth parade in Cleveland.
The man was identified as Demetrius Pitts, also known as Abdur Raheem Rafeeq, of Maple Heights, Ohio. He will be charged with attempted material support of a foreign terrorist organization, specifically al-Qaida, FBI special agent Steve Anthony said at a news conference Monday.
Anthony identified Pitts as a Philadelphia-born U.S. citizen “radicalized in the United States” who expressed an interest, first in Facebook posts and later to an undercover agent, as eager to disrupt a July 4 parade in Cleveland with bombings that included an explosives-laden vehicle. Pitts has a lengthy criminal record, Anthony added, and a “radical ideology and desire to commit violence against the United States.”
In meeting with undercover agents, Pitts displayed a “hatred of the [U.S.] military,” and an “allegiance to al-Qaida,” Anthony said. Pitts also visited several downtown Cleveland locations in recent days to scout bombing locations.
U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said that if convicted, Pitts could face 20 years in prison. He added that Pitts told undercover agents, “I don’t care. I have no regrets.”
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