3 times Ohio men were connected to terror plots

CLEVELAND — Officials with the FBI said Monday that authorities have made an arrest in connection with a Fourth of July terror plot that would have targeted downtown Cleveland.

Authorities identified the man arrested Sunday on suspicion of attempting to support a terrorist organization as Demetrius Pitts, also known Abdur Raheem Rahfeeq. Pitts first came under scrutiny in 2017, after he made “disturbing” posts on Facebook in support of the Muslim militant group al-Qaida, said Stephen Anthony, the special agent-in-charge of the FBI Cleveland office.

» TRENDING COVERAGE: Cleveland terror plot: FBI makes arrest, says July 4 attack was planned

“He talked about taking targets like St. John’s Cathedral off the map,” Herdman said. “(Pitts) wanted to strike at the values that are at the very core of our nation. He wanted us to be afraid to speak our minds. He also wanted us to be scared to gather in public places.”

Here are three other times Ohio was connected to terror plots:

1. Laith Waleed Alebbini

A Dayton man, Laith Waleed Alebbini, 27, was arrested in April 2017 by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force before starting a trip to Jordan and charged with attempting to help ISIS. Prosecutors said Alebbini watched pro-ISIS content with a Confidential Human Source (CHS), that he told the CHS he took anti-ISIS brochures from his mosque and threw them in the garbage and that Alebbini told the CHS to join ISIS.

2. Munir Abdulkader

Munir Abdulkader is a 21-year-old West Chester Twp. man who planned to kill police officers and a military officer, join the terrorist group ISIS, and purchased an AK-47 with the intent to execute his plan, federal investigators say. He was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison and lifetime supervision after being found guilty in a terror plot.

3. Christopher Lee Cornell

Christopher Lee Cornell was arrested in January 2015 on three federal charges. He was arrested outside a Colerain Twp. gun store moments after he purchased two semi-automatic rifles and 600 rounds of ammo. FBI agents had worked with an informant to track Cornell’s online movements, where he allegedly discussed a plan to “wage jihad” against the U.S.


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