In West Philadelphia, a 17-year-old teenager has been apprehended on terrorism charges. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has revealed that the individual in question was purportedly engaged in communication with the group Katibat al Tawhid wal Jihad (KTJ), an organization linked to the well-known terrorist entity Al-Qaeda.
The FBI started its investigation into the case in March this year when it became aware of the teenager’s alleged communication with KTJ over Instagram. After a preliminary inquiry, the bureau launched a full-blown investigation, which included surveillance.
“The young man who is under arrest is — was an aspiring terrorist who was not merely thinking but was doing things that are deeply disturbing and presented a grave danger to everyone,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Philadelphia Field Office Jacqueline Maguire during a press conference.
The teen was purportedly sending and receiving media content that had terrorist propaganda. He attempted to travel overseas for the purpose of joining or supporting the terrorist group. Additionally, he also acquired chemicals and learnt steps to build a weapon of mass destruction.
“Among the items he purchased were tactical equipment, wiring, chemicals and devices often used as remote detonators,” Maguire added.
On August 8, 2023, US Customs and Border Protection provided records revealing 14 international shipments of military and tactical gear to the juvenile’s address.
A WhatsApp account linked to the accused had a banner of Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyrs’ Brigade, a Chechnya-based terrorist group, as its profile photo. On August 6, the accused changed the profile photo to the image of the ISIS banner.
DA charges the juvenile
After the arrest, the District Attorney’s office charged the juvenile with criminal conspiracy, arson, causing/risking a catastrophe, attempt to commit criminal mischief, possession of an instrument of crime, and recklessly endangering another person.
“The work of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force potentially thwarted a catastrophic terrorist attack in the name of a perverted ideology that in no way, shape, or form represents the beliefs of the overwhelming majority of peace-seeking people of faith, including Muslims,” DA Larry Krasner said.