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The 4th of July terror plot thwarted in Cleveland, defendant promised loyalty to Al-Qaeda, FBI says

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FBI: Terror suspect exploration carried out in Cleveland

Demetrius Pitts, also known as Abdur Raheem Rahfeeq, was arrested by the joint terrorism task force in a plot to a van filled with explosives on the Fourth of July.

A man who promised loyalty to Al-Qaeda sought to kill members of the army and of the survey, in downtown Cleveland for a planned attack on July 4, but also the Day of the Independence conspiracy was foiled after a months-long investigation, federal officials said Monday.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony said Demetrius Pitts, also known as Abdur Raheem Rahfeeq, was arrested at 10 a.m. Sunday by the joint terrorism task force. The authorities were initially informed about Pitts in 2017, when he lived in Cincinnati and reportedly statements in support of Al-Qaeda and the advocacy of violence against AMERICAN military members.

“This case shows that law enforcement can not sit back and wait for Mr. Pitts to commit a violent act,” Anthony said.

Demetrius Pitts, also known as Abdur Raheem Rahfeeq, was Sunday arrested by the joint terrorism task force.

(FOX8)

Authorities said Pitts made Facebook posts with “disturbing” messages, saying: “We as Muslims need to start to train like this every day. We need to know how to shoot guns, throw grenades, hand-to-hand combat,” Anthony said during a press conference.

After moving to Cleveland, authorities said Pitts continued to express his ” radical ideology.” During a meeting last week with an undercover FBI agent, Anthony said Pitts noted, “their holiday is coming up.”

“What would hit them at their core? Blow in the have a bomb blow up in the 4th of July parade,” he said.

In the last week, Pitts then went to perform exploration at Voinovich Bicentennial Park, and the Coast Guard station, among other locations, according to the officials. He also continued the voice of hatred for the army, saying he wanted to “cut off heads and hands.”

Voinovich Bicentennial Park in Cleveland, where Pitts carried out exploration in the past week.

(Google Street View)

The Prosecutor of the V. S. Justin Herdman said Pitts planned to use a minibus packed with explosives to places such as St. John’s Cathedral off the map.”

“He wanted to target people watching fireworks and watching the Fourth of July parade in the town,” he told reporters.

The Coast Guard Station in Cleveland, where law enforcement said Demetrius Pitts conducted surveillance for a planned terrorist attack.

(Google Street View)

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In addition to the alleged plans for an attack on 4 July, the officials said Pitts also wanted to be harmful for the soldiers and families of service members. Herdman said Pitts discussed to give remote control cars packed with shrapnel to children of the military. When he was asked by the undercover FBI agent if he was worried about injuring children, Pitts said: “I don’t care and I have no regrets,” said Herdman.

Anthony said that the arrest came after several calls it turned out that Pitts had a desire to do evil. Pitts was born and “radicalized” in the U.S., and wanted to commit violence in the name of Al-Qaeda, he added. Pitts faces up to 20 years in prison.

Cleveland Police Calvin Williams said while the alleged plot was foiled, the public should contact the authorities if they see anything suspicious.

“We must ensure that we keep our eyes and ears open,” he said.

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @travfed

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