Monday, January 9, 2012
Florida man arrested for terrorism plot
(CNN) -- A Florida man, arrested Saturday for allegedly plotted to bomb night clubs and the sheriff's headquarters in Tampa, Florida, faces a federal judge on a terror charge Monday afternoon, federal prosecutors said.
Sami Osmakac, a 25-year-old naturalized American born in Kosovo, planned a car bombing that would be followed by hostage-taking and the explosion of a suicide belt he planned to wear, according to a criminal complaint made public Monday.
"We all have to die, so why not die the Islamic way?" Osmakac allegedly told an undercover FBI employee, according to the complaint.
The federal investigation of Osmakac began in September when a "confidential human source" told the FBI that Osmakac, a resident of Pinellas Park, Florida, "asked for al Qaeda flags," the complaint said.
A law enforcement official, who asked not to be identified because the official was not authorized to talk about the probe, said the suspect does not appear to have any ties to al Qaeda, and early information indicated he was "self-radicalized."
"I don't have any indication anyone else was involved in the plot and pushing this," the official said.
By November, the suspect was discussing potential terror targets in Tampa and asked for the confidential source's help in getting guns and explosives for the attacks, the complaint said.
The government's source introduced Osmakac to an undercover FBI employee, which led to a December 21 meeting during which the suspect said "he wished to acquire an AK-47-style machine gun, Uzi submachine guns, high capacity magazines, grenades and an explosive belt," the complaint said. He later allegedly gave the FBI employee a $500 down payment for the weapons, it said.
"The explosives and firearms that he allegedly sought and attempted to use were rendered inoperable by law enforcement and posed no threat to the public," the government said.
Osmakac, in a New Year's Day meeting with the undercover FBI employee, outlined his plot, it said. His alleged bomb targets were "night clubs in the Ybor City area of Tampa, the operations center of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in Ybor City and a business in the South Tampa area of Tampa," the government said.
After the car bombing, he would retrieve guns and explosives stashed in a Tampa hotel room to begin the second phase of his attacks, the complaint said.
He told the FBI employee that "he wanted to use the explosive belt to 'get in somewhere where there's a lot of people' and take hostages," the complaint said. He would then demand that the FBI "release some prisoners," it said.
"Once I have this ... they can take me in five million pieces," he allegedly said, "an apparent reference to the explosive belt that would be attached to his waist," the government said.
FBI agents arrested Osmakac Saturday night, just after he "made a video of himself explaining his motives for carrying out the planned violent attack," the government said.
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Posted by Steve Douglass at 9:48 AM