Syrian refugee charged in church bombing ordered detained

June 21, 2019 - 12:36 pm

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Syrian refugee charged with plotting to bomb a Pittsburgh church to inspire followers of the Islamic State of Iraq has been ordered detained Friday.

A criminal complaint alleges Mustafa Mousab Alowemer planned to bomb an unidentified church in Pittsburgh and purchased materials he thought were necessary to build a bomb.

His defense attorney, Sam Saylor, said that items bought at a hardware store do not imply intent to make bombs.

FBI agent Gary Morgan testified Friday that Alowemer originally wanted two bombs to go off — one in the early morning and one when law enforcement would be responding.

Alowemer was wearing an orange jumpsuit Friday morning for the preliminary examination and detention hearing in federal court.

The 21-year-old Syrian came to the U.S. as a refugee in 2016.

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