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FBI outlines case against Tarek Mehanna in terror plot

Massachusetts resident Tarek Mehanna, arrested Wednesday, plotted to attack Americans at a shopping mall, FBI says. Failing that, he tried cyberattacks.

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Frustrated at failing in his travels overseas to locate a terrorist training camp, a Massachusetts man returned home in 2003 to begin plotting a domestic terror attack. Thrilled by the 9/11 attacks and impressed by the success of the Washington, D.C., snipers in terrorizing the public in late 2002, Tarek Mehanna and several friends began planning an attack on a shopping mall, a Federal Bureau of Investigation complaint alleges.

In “multiple conversations, discussions, and preparation,” Tarek Mehanna, a student living at home with his parents in Sudbury, Mass., discussed with three other men how to “obtain automatic weapons, go to a shopping mall, and randomly shoot people,” according to the federal criminal complaint filed in a US district court Wednesday.

The trio – Mehanna, Ahmad Abousamra, and an unnamed informant – debated logistics, types of weapons needed, the number of attackers needed, how to coordinate the attack, and how to attack emergency responders, the FBI says.

But like others’ attempts to fight alongside terrorists against the United States, Mehanna’s purported scheme ran into a problem. One of the group traveled to New Hampshire to acquire automatic weapons but could not get them – and so the plan was abandoned, the complaint says.

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