A jihadist who supported al-Qaeda planned to carry out bombings at a Fourth of July parade in Cleveland, Ohio, according to the FBI.
Demetrius Pitts, aka Abdur Raheem Rafeeq, 48, had repeatedly expressed his support for al-Qaeda and talked about setting off bombs at a July 4 parade and later in his hometown of Philadelphia, federal authorities reported on Monday.
NEW: Officials detail arrest of man who, in meeting with undercover agent, expressed allegiance to al-Qaida and “his desire to participate in a terror attack on July 4th” in Cleveland, Ohio, targeting military and law enforcement personnel. https://t.co/T5Ev3SpFva pic.twitter.com/WdKcAOUw3n
— ABC News (@ABC) July 2, 2018
“I’m gonna be downtown when the – when the thing go off. I’m gonna be somewhere cuz I wanna see it go off,” Pitts told an undercover FBI agent who he believed was affiliated with al-Qaeda, according to court documents.
The FBI also said Pitts planned to give children of military personnel remote-controlled cars filled with explosives so the kids would detonate them during the parade.
Mugshot from FBI briefing of Demetrius Nathaniel Pitts aka Abdur Raheem Rafeeq who was busted in Cleveland terror plot pic.twitter.com/HHy6AqRvHK
— Chris Sampson (@TAPSTRIMEDIA) July 2, 2018
“Additional conversations with extremely concerning statements of intentions made by Pitts are specified in the federal complaint, and they include topics such as hatred for the military, wanting to chop off heads and hands, and disposing of bodies,” FBI Special Agent Stephen Anthony said at a press briefing on Monday.
Pitts, who is an American citizen, faces up to 20 years in prison for attempting to provide material support for a terrorist organization.
“This defendant, by his own words and by his own deeds, wanted to attack our nation and its ideals,” said Justin Herdman, the U.S. attorney for northern Ohio.