The Associated Press reports that a would-be suicide bomber has been arrested in Tampa, after attempting to purchase materials he planned to use in a “terrifying” attack:
A 25-year-old man from the former Yugoslavia was charged with an alleged plot to attack crowded locations in the Tampa area, including night clubs, with a car bomb, assault rifle and other explosives, federal authorities said Monday.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced the arrest of Sami Osmakac, whose first appearance in federal court was scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday.
Authorities say Osmakac, from Pinellas County, is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in the former Yugoslavia. He has been charged with one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
Chalk up another big score for Fake Bombs, Incorporated, a subsidiary of the FBI which has been enjoying brisk sales despite the depressed economy. This particular order was huge:
On Dec. 21, Osmakac met with the undercover agent and allegedly told the agent that he wanted to buy an AK-47-style machine gun, Uzi submachine guns, high capacity magazines, grenades and explosive belt. During a later meeting, Osmakac gave the agent a $500 down payment for the items.
“According to the complaint, Osmakac also asked the undercover employee whether he/she could build bombs that could be placed in three different vehicles and detonated remotely, near where Osmakac would conduct a follow-up attack using the other weapons he requested,” the press release said. “The undercover employee said he/she could possibly provide explosives for one vehicle. Osmakac also allegedly said that he wanted an explosive belt constructed to kill people.”
Osmakac was also looking to get some al-Qaeda flags, and had already produced his martyrdom video. His targets would have included the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Operations Center in Ybor City, and a crowded pub in South Tampa called MacDinton’s, according to the Tampa Tribune… which offers a few details that haven’t been widely reported by the national media as of yet:
“I want to do something terrifying,” [Osmakac] said, according to a federal complaint, “like one day, one night, something’s going to happen. Then six hours later, something else.”
[…] On New Year’s Day, according to the complaint, he was given the chance to back out of the plot. But he declined, saying, “We all have to die, so why not die the Islamic way?” In discussing a possible Ybor City attack, Osmakac told an undercover agent he wanted to detonate a car bomb near a nightclub on a night when there would be a lot of people in the area, according to the complaint.
“I know a lot of places where it gets real crowded,” he is quoted as saying.
He also told the agent he wanted to “take down buildings” and “kill people inside,” the complaint states.
(Emphases mine.) The local Muslim community provided assistance leading to the arrest, prompting an expression of gratitude from U.S. Attorney Robert O’Neill and the FBI:
O’Neill and Tampa’s FBI chief, Steven E. Ibison, met with local Muslim leaders this morning to discuss the arrest, according to Hassan Shibly, executive director of the local office of the Council on American Islamic Relations.
Authorities wanted to thank the Muslim community for its help and assured it that Osmakac was considered a “lone wolf,” Shibly said.
Shibly said Osmakac was banned from two local mosques, and local Muslims were so concerned about his extremist views that they reported him to law enforcement. His views were so extreme, Shibly said, that there were fears he might be mentally unbalanced.
Osmakac “had absolutely no support in the local Muslim community,” Shibly said.
However, Shibly made a point of saying the Muslim community would be “very concerned” if Osmakac’s planned terror rampage was something “instigated by the government” in their zeal to make an arrest.