Syrian refugee charged in church bombing ordered detained

June 21, 2019 - 12:15 pm

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Syrian refugee charged with plotting to bomb a Pittsburgh church to inspire followers of the Islamic State of Iraq has been ordered detained in federal court Friday.

A criminal complaint alleges Mustafa Mousab Alowemer planned to bomb an unidentified church in Pittsburgh and purchased materials he thought were necessary to build a bomb.

His defense attorney, Sam Saylor, said that items bought at a hardware store do not imply intent to make bombs.

FBI agent Gary Morgan testified Friday that Alowemer originally wanted two bombs to go off — one in the early morning and one when law enforcement would be responding.

Alowemer was wearing an orange jumpsuit Friday morning for the preliminary examination and detention hearing.

The 21-year-old Syrian came to the U.S. as a refugee in 2016.

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