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Man who plotted to blow up Pittsburgh church in name of ISIS pleads guilty

PITTSBURGH — The man who plotted to blow up a church on Pittsburgh’s North Side in the name of ISIS pleaded guilty Thursday.

Mustafa Alowemer, a Syrian refugee, appeared before a judge Thursday morning.

>>READ MORE: Syrian refugee arrested for allegedly planning terror attack on Pittsburgh church

Alowemer was 21 at the time of his arrest in 2019. Investigators then charged him with attempting to provide material support and resources for ISIS, and two counts of distributing information relating to an explosive, destructive device or weapon of mass destruction.

Alowemer pleaded guilty to one count against him. The other two counts are being withdrawn as part of the plea deal. His immigration status could be impacted if he is convicted.

According to the FBI, he planned to bomb a small church on Wilson Avenue in the Perry South neighborhood. He identified the church as Christian and Nigerian, and said he targeted it to “take revenge for our [ISIS] brothers in Nigeria.”

Officials said Alowemer recorded a video pledging allegiance to the former ISIS leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, before he was hunted down and killed by JSOC 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, commonly called Delta Force.

Alowemer’s sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 26, 2022. The maximum sentence is 20 years.