A Jordanian man was recently arrested in Texas for being illegally in possession of a firearm after federal law enforcement say that he began planning a terrorist attack against Jews.
Sohaib Abuayyash, 20, came to the U.S. on “a tourist visa and liv[ed] illegally in the U.S. for several months,” before he applied for asylum status, which was still pending when he was arrested in Houston late last month, according to a report from KHOU 11 News Houston.
CNN reported that when FBI Director Christopher Wray mentioned during Senate testimony this week that the FBI arrested a man in Houston “who’d been studying how to build bombs and posted online about his support for killing Jews,” he was specifically referring to Abuayyash.
A federal judge ordered that Abuayyash be detained pending trial after making “statements to others that support the killing of individuals of particular religious faiths” and allegedly targeting “an event in Houston for members of a particular religious group.”
A law enforcement source told CNN that he was “plotting to attack a Jewish gathering.”
The FBI opened its criminal investigation into Abuayyash in August after agents discovered a video of him at a shooting range using semi-automatic firearms, the report said. Given his status, he was not allowed to “possess or use firearms or ammunition.”
Court documents said that Abuayyash “in direct contact with others who share a radical mindset, has been conducting physical training, and has trained with weapons to possibly commit an attack.”
He also “viewed specific and detailed content posted by radical organizations on the internet including lessons on how to construct bombs or explosive devices; and that Defendant has made statements to others that support the killing of individuals of particular religious faiths,” court documents added.
He had referenced “martyrdom” and “referenced an event in Houston for members of a particular religious group.”
Federal law enforcement officials took him off the streets by arresting him with the most immediate charge they could bring forward, unlawful possession of a firearm, while more charges may be added at a later date.