Man scouted locations for Cleveland July 4 attack plan

Man scouted locations for Cleveland July 4 attack plan

Man scouted locations for Cleveland July 4 attack plan

A photo of Demetrius Pitts is shown at a news conference Monday in Cleveland, where federal authorities announced his arrest for allegedly plotting a July Fourth terror attack. He is expected to make his first court appearance Monday afternoon in Cleveland.

Federal prosecutors say Pitts expressed a desire to join Al Qaeda and kill U.S. citizens, including military personnel and their families.

Pitts also said that he wanted to help launch an attack in Philadelphia, but that he would only "go look at the base on the ground" but would leave it to other "brothers" to carry out other parts of the attack.

Anthony said Pitts used social media to promote al-Qaeda and call for acts of terrorist violence.

"He expressed a willingness to conduct a US based attack and also his desire in wanting to join a foreign terror organization", Anthony said. When the Federal Bureau of Investigation examined the phone, they found Pitts used it to make two video pledges of allegiance to al-Qaeda. He allegedly planning to give away remote-control toy cars packed with explosives to children of military personnel, investigators said. "His Facebook posts, quite frankly, we disturbing".

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Pitts communicated with undercover agents about his plans, sharing his hatred for law enforcement and that he wanted "to chop off hands and heads", according to Anthony. Officials said he indicated he would travel downtown and surveil potential targets including Voinovich Park near the U.S. Coast Guard station.

While the main attack appears to have been planned for Cleveland and possibly Philadelphia, the FBI's criminal complaint against Demetrius Pitts, 48, also alleged he "also discussed possibly traveling to San Francisco to conduct additional targeting and reconnaissance on behalf of al Qaeda".

Anderson says the individual was arrested for "attempted material support of a foreign terrorist organization".

In 2015, US law enforcement officials said they had arrested more than 10 people inspired by the Islamic State militant group ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, saying the arrests had disrupted planned attacks.

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