Alabama Man Pleads Guilty to Obtaining Bomb-Making Materials for Plot on ISIS’s Behalf
A Huntsville, Alabama, man pleaded guilty to federal terrorism charges on March 8 in connection with acquiring bomb-making materials he planned to use in attacks on behalf of ISIS. Under terms of a plea agreement, prosecutors recommend Aziz Sayyed (right) receive a 15-year prison sentence followed by supervised probation for the rest of his life on the charge of attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization. Sentencing is scheduled for June 20. Prosecutors said that after watching ISIS videos, Sayyed, 23, purchased materials to make explosives he hoped to use in attacks on police stations or a military installation in Huntsville. In June 2017, he discussed these plans and a desire to assist ISIS with an undercover FBI agent he believed was a member of the terrorist organization. Sayyed was apprehended two days later. US Attorney Jay E. Town of Alabama noted that a tip from a concerned citizen led to the investigation and arrest of Sayyed.
Threats of School Violence Remain a Concern Across New Jersey
Threats against New Jersey schools continued in the aftermath of the shooting on February 14 in Parkland, Florida. A former student in the Pinelands Regional School District in Ocean County was taken into custody on March 8 on suspicion of making a threat against a school. The district had placed schools on lockdown. Seven students were arrested and charged with making terroristic threats on March 7 for allegedly threatening to “shoot up” an intermediate school in Stafford Township (Ocean County). A sixth-grade student was arrested on March 5 after allegedly bringing two BB guns and pellets to a middle school in Hackensack (Bergen County) after photos of the BB guns were posted on social media. Public schools in Bayonne (Hudson County) were closed on March 5 due to two threats on social media, with one stating that “all Bayonne schools would be shot up Monday morning.” The schools reopened the following day with a heavy police presence. On March 2, a middle school in Woodbridge (Middlesex County) was placed on lockdown and a student accused of posting an image of a firearm on social media was arrested. The student was charged with creating a false public alarm.
Teen Accused of Bringing Homemade Bomb to Utah High School Said to be Inspired by ISIS
A teenage student charged with planting and attempting to detonate a homemade bomb at a southern Utah high school also researched information about ISIS, according to police. The unidentified male was arrested on March 6 after the explosive device was discovered the day before at Pine View High School in St. George. The school of about 1,100 students was evacuated after three students informed a school resource officer of smoke coming out of a backpack left near vending machines. Law enforcement officials disarmed the device, which authorities said the suspect attempted to light the fuse of in order to make it explode. A search of the teen’s home uncovered materials consistent with building homemade explosives, as well as evidence showing the teen’s interest in promoting ISIS. The teen is also suspected in a vandalism incident at a nearby high school in Hurricane, Utah, on February 15, when an American flag was replaced with an ISIS flag and “ISIS is coming” was spray-painted on a wall. He faces felony charges of possession or use of a weapon of mass destruction, the threat of terrorism, and graffiti, as well as a misdemeanor charge of abuse of a flag.