17-year-old supporter of Islamic extremism arrested in Philadelphia terrorism case

The FBI and Philadelphia law enforcement officials announced a case Monday afternoon against a 17-year-old who they say was a supporter of Islamic extremists, allegedly radicalized online, and had purchased materials that could be used to make bombs.

“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,” Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said in a statement.

The DA’s office said the juvenile is facing charges of weapons of mass destruction; criminal conspiracy; arson; causing/risking catastrophe; attempt to commit criminal mischief; possession of an instrument of crime, and recklessly endangering another person.

“The charges we have filed against this individual represent the most serious alleged terrorist activity prosecuted in Philadelphia County court in recent history,” Krasner said.

A law enforcement official told NBC News that the DA’s office will attempt to try the juvenile as an adult, but that the case would not go to federal court due to the suspect’s age. The 17-year-old is from a Muslim family, the official said, but there were no indications that members of his family were involved or aware of the suspect’s alleged plans.

The suspect had been purchasing materials online and selecting potential targets, the official said.

FBI special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Field Office Jacqueline Maguire and Krasner held a news conference Monday about a terrorism investigation that led to an arrest in West Philadelphia.

Maguire said that the teenager had access to a “significant” number of firearms and had purchased materials to help with the construction of an improvised explosive device.

He had conducted “general research” into specific targets, but not only in the Philadelphia area, Maguire added.

The suspect, who the two officials declined to name, was in communication with Katibat al Tawhid wal Jihad (KTJ), an al-Qa’ida affiliated group designated as a foreign terrorist organization in 2022. He was arrested on Friday, they said.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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