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Cleveland FBI: A July 4 Terror Attack Was Planned

Cleveland FBI: A July 4 Terror Attack Was Planned”

Agents said they had charged Demetrius Nathaniel Pitts with one count of attempting to provide material support to Al-Qaeda.

Pitts shot videos of potential targets such as a federal building and a U.S. Coast Guard station and then turned over the phone last week, believing the photos and videos would be given to al-Qaida members, the document said.

Authorities say Pitts is a USA citizen who was radicalized in the U.S.

"Blow up at fourth of July parade", Anthony said. According to Federal Bureau of Investigation officials, Pitts also expressed his desire to plan a future attack in Philadelphia, where he had previously lived.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony said the FBI originally in 2017 learned of statements Pitts made supporting Al Qaeda and regarding violent intentions against the armed forces while he lived in the Cincinnati area.

"What would hit them at their core?"

He first came to authorities' attention after he posted several disturbing messages on Facebook.

Officials also said it was not clear if Pitts had a network inside the USA or overseas.

"Blow up, have a bomb, blow up at the 4th of July parade", Pitts allegedly said.

It was the fourth arrest in the United States this year of someone accused of plotting for or in support of a jihadist group, according to Seamus Hughes of the George Washington University Program on Extremism, which tracks such cases.

Anthony also told a news conference that the man was "willing to chop off hands and heads".

The investigation started in Cincinnati in 2017 where he lived at the time, and continued in the Northern District of OH when Pitts moved to Cleveland in May 2018. He added that Pitts had an extensive criminal history, including charges but not exclusive to assault, domestic violence, carrying a concealed weapon.

FBI Director Christopher Wray, in a statement issued on Monday, praised his agents and condemned Pitts' alleged plans for an attack on "a day our citizens should be able to celebrate our freedom without fear of violence".



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