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What We Know About the ISIS Plot to Attack Trump Tower, White House

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Posted: Nov 26, 2020 5:00 PM
What We Know About the ISIS Plot to Attack Trump Tower, White House

Source: AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

The U.S. Department of Justice recently announced the arrest of a South Carolina man who stands accused of providing material support to the foreign terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS. The man, 34-year-old Kristopher Sean Matthews (aka Ali Jibreel), is accused along with another man of conspiring to carry out terrorist attacks against the White House, Trump Tower in New York City, and other high-profile targets.

Matthews pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS. In pleading guilty, Matthews admitted to conspiring alongside 22-year-old Jaylyn Christopher Molina (aka Abdur Rahim) of Cost, TX, by sharing bomb-making information with the goal of committing terrorist attacks on behalf of ISIS in the United States and elsewhere.

Both Matthews and Molino were indicted by a federal grand jury in Oct. 2020 on one count of conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS and one substantive count of providing material support to the foreign terrorist organization.

(Via the New York Post)

The duo, who were arrested in September, eyed Trump Tower, the White House and the New York Stock Exchange as potential targets.

Matthews also suggested to “hit government centers” rather than locations like malls “where innocent children are,” court documents show.

If the pair “accomplished the mission,” Matthews said, the attacks would grant them “rock star status,” according to a 14-page criminal complaint filed in US District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio.

“This could be Netflix worthy,” Matthews wrote in a secretive chat group where FBI investigators said they pledged their loyalty to ISIS, court documents show.

The pair also discussed potential attacks at the headquarters of the CIA, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, according to the complaint.

Matthews faces up to 20 years in federal prison, and Molino, who remains in federal custody, faces up to 40 years if convicted. A sentencing hearing for Matthews is set for Mar. 4, 2021, before Chief U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia in San Antonio.

In a separate case, the Justice Department recently announced a five-charge indictment against a Portland man, 31-year-old Hawazen Sameer Mothafar, including two counts of conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS, one count of providing and attempting to provide material support to ISIS, and one count of making false statements on his immigration application.

Mothafar allegedly maintained contact with ISIS officials overseas and helped those individuals open up social media profiles and email accounts for official use. The individual is accused of lying to immigration officials about his alleged ties to terrorism.

In Oct. 2019, President Trump ordered the U.S. strike that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who had been at the helm of the terrorist organization since 2014. In that year, ISIS declared itself a worldwide caliphate and claimed authority over the entire Muslim world. An international coalition led by the United States targeted ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and Russia intervened in Syria against ISIS the following year. In December 2017, it was reported that ISIS had lost 98 percent of the territories it once held.