With recent Islamic terror events unfolding around the world, Americans at home are growing concerned about sleeper cells activating inside the United States.
Last week, an Ohio man with sympathies to ISIS was arrested for plotting to blow up the Capitol building. Just three years ago, Amine El Khalifi was arrested and charged on similar counts after planning to use a suicide vest to carry out an attack on the Capitol. At the time, Khalifi lived in the same apartment complex as I did in Northern Virginia just outside of Washington D.C. He was in the U.S. as an illegal immigrant after living on an expired visa for years and frequently attended a mosque in Falls Church. More from the Washington Post:
Federal authorities on Friday arrested a 29-year-old Moroccan man in an alleged plot to carry out a suicide bombing at the U.S. Capitol, the latest in a series of terrorism-related arrests resulting from undercover sting operations.
For more than a year, Amine El Khalifi, of Alexandria, considered attacking targets including a synagogue, an Alexandria building with military offices and a Washington restaurant frequented by military officials, authorities said. When arrested a few blocks from the Capitol around lunchtime on Friday, he was carrying what he believed to be a loaded automatic weapon and a suicide vest ready for detonation.
The gun and vest were provided not by al-Qaeda, as Khalifi had been told, but by undercover FBI agents who rendered them inoperable, authorities said.
Khalifi “allegedly believed he was working with al-Qaeda,” said Neil H. MacBride, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Khalifi “devised the plot, the targets and the methods on his own.”
I remember the day he was arrested. I drove home one day in 2012 to grab my suitcase for a midday flight and there was a local reporter outside the complex stopping people for comments. When I asked her why she was there, she informed me about Khalifi's plans and that he had lived in the building.
Stay vigilant, America.