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18-year-old plotted terrorist attack on 21 churches in Idaho after swearing allegiance to ISIS during COVID, FBI says
Image Source: NewsNation YouTube video screenshot

18-year-old plotted terrorist attack on 21 churches in Idaho after swearing allegiance to ISIS during COVID, FBI says

An Idaho man allegedly plotted a terror attack on nearly two dozen Christian churches for the sake of the Islamic state, but he was thwarted by FBI informants.

The FBI said agents were tracking Alexander Scott Mercurio for two years after he converted to Islam against his Christian parents' wishes.

Mercurio was arrested on Saturday a day before he allegedly planned to launch his attack coinciding with the end of the religious month of Ramadan.

"Thanks to the investigative efforts of the FBI, the defendant was taken into custody before he could act, and he is now charged with attempting to support ISIS's mission of terror and violence," read a statement from Attorney General Merrick Garland.

FBI task force officer John Taylor II said in a sworn statement that Mercurio told him he planned to attack his father in order to gain access to his guns for the terror attack. Mercurio's father had a locked cabinet with rifles, handguns, and ammunition.

Mercurio allegedly planned to die in an act of martyrdom after attacking the churches. The statement alleges that Mercurio tried to build an explosive vest to be used during the attacks.

"A craving for mayhem and murder."

Prosecutors say that the teenager first converted to Islam during the coronavirus pandemic when the schools closed.

"I've stopped asking and praying for martyrdom because I don't feel like I want to fight and die for the sake of Allah, I just want to die and have all my problems go away," he allegedly wrote to the informant.

"I have motivation for nothing but fighting ... like some time of insatiable bloodlust for the life juice of these idolators; a craving for mayhem and murder to terrorize those around me. I need some better weapons than knives," read a second message allegedly sent on March 21.

He said that his plan was to storm each church, "kill as many people as possible," burn down the building, and then move on to the next church.

Mercurio was arrested in Coeur d’Alene and charged with providing material support and resources to ISIS. He could face up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted.

Among the evidence amassed by the FBI is the image of Mercurio posing in front of an ISIS flag while making a gesture known to be used by terrorists. They were also able to recover the flag from his possessions.

"The Justice Department will continue to relentlessly pursue, disrupt, and hold accountable those who would commit acts of terrorism against the people and interests of the United States," added Merrick in his statement.

ISIS recently took responsibility for a horrendous attack at the Crocus Concert Hall in Moscow, where militants gunned down 145 people and injured hundreds more.

Here's more about the terror arrest:

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Carlos Garcia

Carlos Garcia

Staff Writer

Carlos Garcia is a staff writer for Blaze News.