The FBI has just averted what could have been a horrific tragedy. It announced today that it’s arrested a man who planned to commit a mass shooting designed to kill dozens of people at a Milwaukee temple and spark additional acts of terror in the U.S.
Via Fox 6 Now:
FBI officials announced on Tuesday, January 26th that Milwaukee resident Samy Mohammed Hamzeh, 23, has been charged with possessing machine guns and a silencer.
According to the criminal complaint, Hamzeh had been under investigation since September 2015. The investigation revealed that, in October 2015, Hamzeh planned to travel to Jordan, enter the West Bank, and conduct an attack on Israeli soldiers and citizens living in the West Bank. Hamzeh later abandoned those plans and began to focus on conducting an attack in the United States.
According to the criminal complaint, Hamzeh has engaged in extensive conversations with two confidential sources (referred to here as CS-1 and CS-2). Those conversations, which were in Arabic, were monitored, recorded, and translated by the FBI beginning in October 2015.
During those recorded conversations, Hamzeh explained that he wanted to commit a domestic act of violence and, earlier this month, he settled on a Masonic temple in Milwaukee as his target.
On January 19, 2016, Hamzeh, CS-1 and CS-2 took a guided tour of the Masonic temple, during which they learned meeting schedules and where people would be located during meetings. In a recorded conversation after they left the temple, Hamzeh, discussed his plans with CS-1 and CS-2. In that conversation, Hamzeh reaffirmed his intention to commit an armed attack on the temple and discussed in further detail how they would carry out the attack.
Apparently, Hamzeh hoped to gain worldwide acclaim among jihadists and ignite further violence, reportedly saying:
“I am telling you, if this hit is executed, it will be known all over the world. . . . Sure, all over the world, all the Mujahedeen will be talking and they will be proud of us. . . such operations will increase in America, when they hear about it…This way we will be igniting it. I mean we are marching at the front of the war.”
“Thirty is excellent. If I got out, after killing thirty people, I will be happy 100%. . . . 100% happy, because these 30 will terrify the world.”
It’s unclear at this point whether Hamzeh was connected to other groups as part of a wider web of terror.
Acting United States Attorney Gregory Haanstad said “it is difficult to calculate the injury and loss of life that was prevented by concerned citizens coming forward and by the tireless efforts of the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.”