In early December, an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in Ohio arrested 21-year-old Damon Joseph for planning an attack on a synagogue in Toledo, Ohio. Joseph was inspired by ISIS, making this the 105th Islamist terror plot or attack since 9/11 against the U.S. homeland.
Law enforcement first located Joseph on social media where he made posts of weapons and in support of ISIS.
Undercover agents contacted Joseph and he sent them ISIS propaganda and recruitment literature. He expressed support for violent “martyrdom operations” in the U.S. and following the attack on the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue in October.
Joseph expressed interest in carrying out a similar attack.
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He then spent the next month deliberating over whether or not to conduct such an attack but ultimately decided that it was time for him to move from “virtual jihad” to “physical jihad.”
By the end of November, Joseph was plotting the specifics of his act of terror, still interested in attacking a synagogue with firearms.
Joseph asked one of the undercover agents if they would be interested in participating in an attack and when the agent responded that he had money available for such an operation, Joseph forwarded a plan of attack and the need for firearms and ammo.
Joseph said there were two synagogues that could be targets but he preferred the larger one because he wanted to “go big or go home.” Joseph then met in person with undercover agents to talk about specific weapons and tactics.
In the following days, the undercover agents sent photos of the weapons they had acquired for the attack. They then met with Joseph to exchange the weapons, which had been rendered inoperable.
Once he took the weapons, Joseph was arrested.