The Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed that it thwarted a terrorist plot that was reportedly set to be carried out in Cleveland on Wednesday, July 4.
What are the details?
According to a Monday WJW-TV report, police took Demetrius Nathanial Pitts, also known as Abdur Raheem Rahfeeq, into custody Sunday after a monthslong investigation reportedly spurred on by social media statements.
According to the authorities, Pitts is a U.S. citizen who has an extensive criminal record.
The FBI's Cleveland office said that the plot involved targeting the city's downtown area, noting that Pitts reportedly planned to stuff a van with explosives.
Police charged Pitts with attempted material support of a foreign terror organization in attempting a July 4 attack. According to the network's report, Pitts had pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda.
What did the FBI agent say?
FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony said that the agency learned of Pitts' statements in 2017, which reportedly supported Al Qaeda and indicated violence against U.S. armed forces, reportedly saying that he wanted to "chop off heads and hands."
Anthony said that Pitts ended up meeting with an undercover agent and reportedly made statements similar to "What would hit them in their core? Blow up at the Fourth of July parade."
Anthony revealed that Pitts also checked out Cleveland-area landmarks as possible targets for July 4, and added that Pitts was interested in carrying out similar attacks in Philadelphia.
Pitts is set to appear in court on Monday.
Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson issued a statement with regard to the FBI's stellar work in tracking down the suspect.
Jackson said, "I want to thank the FBI and all the members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force – men and women whose primary goal is to make Northeast Ohio safe. These Law Enforcement Partners continue to secure us against those who seek to disrupt our way of life through violence and the threat of terrorist acts."