The FBI broke up a deadly plot by three ISIS-sympathizing teens who planned a murderous spree targeting a Chicago-area Shia mosque before continuing to another mosque or Jewish synagogue.
Federal court documents released Friday say 18-year old Xavier Pelkey of Waterville, Maine, was communicating with a 17-year-old in Kentucky and a 15-year-old in Chicago over Instagram. The three planned to meet during spring break in late March in Chicago and carry out their attacks “in the name of ISIS.”
An FBI agent says investigators searched Pelkey’s home in Maine and found items in a backpack that included fireworks taped together with staples, pins, and thumbtacks. The homemade device was designed to increase the shrapnel from an explosion when detonated.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Wolff said that, based on what the FBI uncovered, the plot between the teenagers “was more than just talk.” The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) calls for hate crimes charges against the three, saying the case “highlights the real threat posed by anti-Muslim bigotry (and) antisemitism.”
Prosecutors allege their first target was to be a Shia mosque, where they would “separate the adults from the children, then murder the adults.” The teens intended to continue to another Shia mosque or Jewish synagogue and repeat the same scenario.
The FBI said the trio had no escape plan. Instead, they would continue with their attacks until being shot by law enforcement.
A search of the 15-year-old’s home in Chicago found several firearms, swords, multiple homemade ISIS flags, and a bow and arrows. The identities of the two younger suspects have not been released due to their age, and a judge ordered Pelky held in custody pending trial.
The 18-year-old, who referred to himself in communications with the other teens as “Abdullah,” is initially charged with possessing unregistered destructive devices and faces up to 10 years in prison.
ISIS has long targeted Shia Muslims for genocide and carried out several horrific massacres against believers who they view as polytheists and heretics. Experts say 2021 was the first year since 9/11 when there was not a single successful mass terror attack in the United States.