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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Keyword: explosive devices

The man who plotted to blow up a church on Pittsburgh’s North Side in the name of ISIS pleaded guilty Thursday.

Mustafa Alowemer, a Syrian refugee, appeared before a judge Thursday morning.

Alowemer was 21 at the time of his arrest in 2019. Investigators then charged him with attempting to provide material support and resources for ISIS, and two counts of distributing information relating to an explosive, destructive device or weapon of mass destruction.

Alowemer pleaded guilty to one count against him. The other two counts are being withdrawn as part of the plea deal. His immigration status could be impacted if he is convicted.

According to the FBI, he planned to bomb a small church on Wilson Avenue in the Perry South neighborhood. He identified the church as Christian and Nigerian, and said he targeted it to “take revenge for our [ISIS] brothers in Nigeria.”

Read more: WPXI

Nigerian troops have seized 14 tonnes of fertiliser that the insurgent Islamist group Boko Haram had planned to turn into roadside bombs, the army said on Thursday.

Boko Haram has killed hundreds of people in bombings during its 12-year war against the armed forces in northeast Nigeria, a conflict that has spilled over into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon and caused an estimated 350,000 deaths.

The army said it had broken up a urea fertiliser syndicate that supplied the insurgents with materials to make IEDs, or improvised explosive devices.

Troops seized 281 bags of urea, each weighing 50kg, at two locations in northeastern Borno and Yobe states, military spokesman Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu said in a statement.

Read more: Reuters

The leader of an Illinois anti-government militia group who authorities say masterminded the 2017 bombing of a Minnesota mosque was sentenced Monday to 53 years in prison for an attack that terrified the mosque's community.

Emily Claire Hari, who was previously known as Michael Hari and recently said she is transgender, faced a mandatory minimum of 30 years for the attack on Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington. Defense attorneys asked for the minimum, but prosecutors sought life, saying Hari hasn’t taken responsibility for the attack.

No one was hurt in the bombing, but more than a dozen members of the mosque community gave victim impact statements Monday about the trauma it left behind. U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank said evidence clearly showed Hari's intent was to “scare, intimidate and terrorize individuals of Muslim faith."

Read more: ABC News

The FBI issued a fresh appeal for help to identify the suspect who planted two live pipe bombs near the Capitol the night before the Jan. 6 riots, indicating that the hooded figure captured by area surveillance cameras may have been operating from a local park.

The nine-month search for the bomb suspect, who placed devices at both the Democratic and Republican Party headquarters, remains perhaps the most enduring mystery related to the deadly siege.

The explosives, ultimately discovered on the day of the attacks and disarmed by authorities, were placed between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. the night before, officials have said.

In the latest appeal, officials released a new video of the man, showing him taking a seat on a park bench while carrying a backpack and appearing to check a mobile phone.

Read more: USA Today

A 44-year-old Middletown man has been charged with weapons of mass destruction and other related offenses after police and other agencies shut down a portion of the borough for several hours.

Middletown Borough Public Safety Director William Baldwin said everything started around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in the area of Spring and Union streets.

Baldwin described it as a “situation that the Homeland Security Investigation team was working with the Middletown Borough Police Department.”

Joseph M. McClure was charged with weapons of mass destruction, risking catastrophe and reckless endangerment, and was being arraigned around 8:30 p.m., Baldwin said.

Read more: Penn Live