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CA man pleads guilty to supporting ISIS

Twitter application (Dreamstime/TNS)
July 19, 2018

Amer Alhaggagi, 23, from West Oakland, California, pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon in federal court to providing material support to ISIS.

Information obtained from Alhaggagi’s December 2016 detention hearing stated that he had plans to start fires in Berkeley and San Francisco, sell cocaine laced with rat poison in bars, leave backpack bombs on a school campus and bomb gay nightclubs in San Francisco.

Alhaggagi pleaded guilty to providing material support to ISIS and to three counts involving phony credit cards and identity theft.

Alhaggagi faces a possible 47 years at his sentencing in November, which is likely to be more like six or seven years that the defense will call for.

His attorney asked for a full day for sentencing to call an expert about radicalization and terrorism to explain what Alhaggagi did, ABC 7 News reported.

“What he did do here was open five Twitter accounts and two Facebook accounts, that’s it. He didn’t post any messages that were sympathetic to ISIS,” Mary McNamara said.

The prosecutor disputed that Alhaggagi was communicating with “a real live member of ISIS.”

However, “We now know who that person was, through evidence in the case. It turned out to be a 16-year-old Iraqi high school student,” McNamara told the prosecutor.

“This rises to something that was more than just puffery and daydreaming. This was something we invested a lot of time and effort into, and the FBI does not do that and law enforcement doesn’t do that unless there is a clear and present danger,” San Francisco FBI Chief John Bennett said.

Alhaggagi was quoted telling a confidential source: “I live close to San Francisco, that’s like the gay capital of the world. I’m going to handle them right, LOL. I’m going to place a bomb in a gay club, Wallah or by God, I’m going to tear up the city. And I quote, ‘the whole Bay Area is going to be up in flames,'” ABC reported.

Investigators told the prosecutor that Alhaggagi even applied for a job at the Oakland Police Department so he could acquire weapons for his attacks, but he was never considered for the position.