US authorities have charged a man, described by the FBI as an “Islamic State” (IS) sympathizer, with plotting to set off a nail-filled backpack bomb. Harlem Suarez allegedly praised the jihadi group on Facebook.
The 23-year-old Floridian was first brought to the attention of American authorities after a Facebook user contacted police, claiming that Suarez had tried to recruit them to support IS.
The FBI said Suarez listed his Facebook “likes” as “Jihadist,” “Extraordinary Prayer for ISIS,” and “Prayers for ISIS: Weapons of our Warfare.”
In April, Suarez allegedly posted, “be a warrior, learn how to cut your enemies head and then burn down the body learn how to be the new future of the world Caliphate” – a reference to IS’ aim to build a regional fundamentalist entity.
He later added a request “from any brother. How to make a bomb send me a video or something, what do I need to make it.”
Suarez allegedly later paid a cooperator to construct a telephone-controlled bomb which he intended to bury on Floridas Key West beach and detonate.
“I can go to the beach at the night time, put the thing in the sand, cover it up, so the next day I just call and the thing is gonna, is gonna make, a real hard noise from nowhere,” Suarez allegedly told an FBI source in a recorded call.
The terror suspect was arrested Monday after taking possession of an inert explosive device provided by an FBI informant.
During his first court appearance on Tuesday, Suarez’ temporary attorney, Richard Della Fera, said in an email that he “may be a troubled and confused young man, but he is certainly not a terrorist.”
Allegations ‘taken seriously’
The FBI said Suarez also unsuccessfully attempted to order an AK-47 assault rifle on the Internet and sought to make an IS recruitment video which. According to the complaint, the footage was eventually recorded under FBI surveillance at a motel.
“American soil is the past, we will destroy America and divide it in two, we will rais(e) our black flag on top of your white house and any president on duty (cut head),” Suarez said in a script he wrote himself for the video.
According the FBI complaint, however, there was no evidence that Suarez ever actually made an explosive, nor that he had contact with any IS militants overseas. Miami’s FBI special agent in charge, George Piro, said the allegations had to be taken seriously nonetheless.