TEXAS TEEN CHARGED WITH PLOTTING IS-INSPIRED SHOOTING AT MALL

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A 17-year-old boy in Plano, Texas, has been arrested and charged with plotting a mass shooting inspired by the Islamic State at a shopping mall, law enforcement agencies said on Wednesday.

Matin Azizi-Yarand, 17, appears in a booking photo provided by the Collin County Sheriff’s Office, May 2, 2018. Collin County Sheriff’s Office/Handout via REUTERS

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and police said high-school student Matin Azizi-Yarand had planned the attack for mid-May and had sought to recruit others for the shooting. Authorities also said he had drafted a “Message to America” justifying his planned attack.

The FBI and local authorities in Collin County, Texas, said that at the time of his arrest, Azizi-Yarand had sent “more than $1,400 to others” to buy weapons and tactical gear.

In an affidavit, investigators said Azizi-Yarand began communicating online with an FBI “confidential human source” last December about his desire to travel abroad or to conduct an attack in the United States.

Matin Azizi-Yarand, 17, appears in a booking photo provided by the Collin County Sheriff’s Office, May 2, 2018. Collin County Sheriff’s Office/Handout via REUTERS

He compared himself to other recent “lone wolf” attackers, investigators said. “Look at all the other lone wolves// What training did they have yet they simply killed the kuffar?” Azizi-Yarand told the FBI source, using the Arabic word for “disbelievers,” according to the affidavit.

Prosecutors say Azizi-Yarand told the FBI source: “The brothers in Europe the brother in Spain the brother in New York? Had no military training//it’s not about numbers it’s about getting a message across to these taghut countries,” using an Islamic term denoting a focus of worship other than Allah.

Later in the discussion, investigators say, Azizi-Yarand told the FBI source he wanted “to put America in the state that Europe is in which is having to have soldiers deployed in streets.”

In other conversations, investigators say, Azizi-Yarand talked about his interest in traveling to Pakistan and then crossing into Afghanistan where he could join the Islamic State. At another point, he told the FBI source he knew a person in India who had information on jihadi activity in Libya, and who invited Azizi-Yarand to travel there with him.

In one conversation, Azizi-Yarand said that he had converted to Islam, in part because of “fighting.”

“When I first became Muslim fighting was a big part of why I came to this religion,” he said. “I saw men facing so many tribulations but remained steadfast and believed in Allah. That’s one of the Core things that led me to convert seeing the strength the Muslims had.”

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