South Florida Synagogue Plot
On April 29, James Gonzalo Medina was arrested for attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction to attack a Florida synagogue.
While the investigation has shown no direct affiliation to an international terrorist group, Medina desired to attribute the attack to an international Islamist terror organization. This is the 85th Islamist-inspired domestic terror plot or attack against the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001.
In late March, the FBI launched an investigation after suspecting the defendant’s desire to attack a local synagogue in South Florida. According to the criminal complaint, Medina had originally wished to create a martyr of himself by attacking the synagogue with AK-47 assault rifles around the time of Passover (late April). He also planned on leaving a sort of “clue” to attribute responsibility to an international terrorist organization, such as the Islamic State or al-Shabaab. Medina later changed his plan to the detonating of a timed bomb from within the synagogue.
Throughout the investigation an FBI confidential source learned how Medina had converted to Islam four years ago and how he simply wanted to inspire other Muslims to attack within the U.S. He took pleasure in the idea of how much media coverage a successful attack would gain and iterated how he wanted his attack to be on the scale of Sept. 11.
This is the fifth Islamist-inspired domestic terror plot or attack in 2016.
Medina was arrested after purchasing what he believed to be an explosive device from an undercover FBI agent; later confessing to knowingly attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction within the U.S.
This is the fifth Islamist-inspired domestic terror plot or attack in 2016. And the 74th of 85 plots or attacks to have been homegrown since 9/11. 2015 saw a record number of plots or attacks with a total of 16. The U.S. should continue to maintain a proactive approach to preventing terrorism before it strikes.