Monday, January 9, 2012

BENADOR: Muslim Arrested in Alleged Florida Terrorist Bomb Plot

The two main religions of Kosovo are Islam and Christianity. Muslims make up 90% of Kosovo's population, and followers are mostly Sunni, with a Bektashi Islam minority. If considered an independent state, Kosovo would be one of three Muslim-dominated countries which lie exclusively within Europe - next to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania - and the most Muslim of them all by proportion of population.

Man charged with Tampa car bomb plot
Kosovar immigrant planned Ybor, South Tampa blasts

A staff report

TAMPA - A chilling terrorist plot ended with the weekend arrest of a 25-year-old immigrant from Kosovo, FBI agents say. Sami Osmakac allegedly told undercover investigators that he wanted to "die the Islamic way" after attacking locations in Ybor City and South Tampa.

According to the FBI, Osmakac is a naturalized U.S. citizen who now lives in Pinellas Park. Agents were tipped off to the possible plot in September.

The five-month investigation culminated with a sting operation on Saturday. Osmakac was arrested after he allegedly took possession of explosives and firearms that had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement.

Among Osmakac's alleged bomb targets were nightclubs in the Ybor City area of Tampa, the operations center of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in Ybor City, and a business in the South Tampa area.

As part of the second portion of his planned attack, Osmakac allegedly told the undercover FBI employee that, after the car bomb was detonated, he wanted to wear an explosive belt and "get in somewhere where there's a lot of people" and take hostages.

"Once I have this…they can take me in five million pieces," he allegedly added, in an apparent reference to a suicide blast.

According to the FBI, the plot unfolded through several meetings with undercover sources and agents:

September: FBI agents receive information from a confidential human source indicating that Osmakac had asked for al-Qaeda flags.
November: Osmakac and the FBI source discuss and identify potential targets in Tampa. Osmakac allegedly asks the source for help in obtaining firearms and explosives for the attacks.
December 21: Osmakac tells an undercover FBI employee that he wants an AK-47-style machine gun, Uzi submachine guns, high capacity magazines, grenades, and an explosive belt. Allegedly, he later makes a $500 down payment.
January 1: Osmakac allegedly outlines his attack. He wants to get a hotel room; park a vehicle with a bomb in it at his target, leave the area, detonate the car bomb, and then retrieve weapons and explosives from the hotel room.
It was during that New Year's Day meeting when the undercover FBI employee noted that Osmakac could change his mind and back out of the plot. According to investigators, Osmakac immediately shook his head and said, "We all have to die, so why not die the Islamic way?"

Saturday, FBI agents arrested Osmakac after he took possession of the explosive devices and firearms, which had been neutralized without his knowledge.

Investigators also say Osmakac made a video of himself explaining his motives for carrying out the planned attack.
Osmakac faces one charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. He is due to make his first appearance in federal court at 2 p.m.


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