Photos released in case of Syrian refugee accused of church bombing plot
Federal court filings this week revealed photos sent by a Syrian refugee who is accused of plotting to blow up a North Side Pittsburgh church as a show of support for ISIS.
U.S. Attorney Soo Song entered into evidence two videos that Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, 21, is accused of sending an undercover federal agent he believed was a fellow ISIS sympathizer.
Screenshots from those two videos were made public in court filings.
Alowemer faces federal charges of supporting a foreign terrorist organization and planning an attack using explosives. His target was the Legacy International Worship Center in the city’s Perry South neighborhood. U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Eddy held the charges over for trial during a 90-preliminary hearing last week.
One video showed Alowemer apparently sitting in a chair, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with a white mask covering the lower half of his face. In the video, Alowemer spoke quickly and confidently in Arabic. An FBI agent who testified at the preliminary hearing said the video was Alowemer’s bay’aa – a term he said ISIS supporters use to mean a demonstration of commitment to the extremist group.
The second video Alowemer is accused of sending the undercover agent shows what appears to be an explosion that takes out several buildings, apparently in the Middle East.
Alowemer was arrested June 19 in what was to be his fifth meeting with undercover agents. They’d met four times prior, according to the criminal complaint, and each time Alowemer took the lead on planning and plotting the would-be attack. His next court date has not been scheduled.
Alowemer resettled in Pittsburgh with his family in 2016. They lived in the Northview Heights neighborhood, and he’d recently graduated from Brashear High School.
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter .