Authorities arrested a 20-year-old New Jersey man who allegedly said that he wanted to “bomb Trump Tower” in New York City and shoot people at a pro-Israel rally after he reportedly sent money to the terror group Hamas.
What are the details?
Police took Jonathan Xie of Basking Ridge into custody Wednesday and charged him with attempting to provide support to Hamas, WABC-TV reported.
According to WNBC-TV, Xie sent money abroad to help fund the terror organization.
Court records say that Xie considered joining the U.S. Army so he could “learn how to kill” and “use that knowledge.”
Xie also reportedly appeared in an Instagram video in April where he displayed a Hamas flag and said that he was against Zionism. He purportedly said, “I’m gonna go to the [expletive] pro-Israel march and I’m going to shoot everybody.”
Xie could also be heard in another Instagram video saying, “I want to shoot the pro-Israel demonstrators … you can get a gun and shoot your way through or use a vehicle and ram people … all you need is a gun or a vehicle to go on a rampage,” court documents say.
The FBI said Xie’s social media pages were filled with instances of terror propaganda as well as support for Bashar al-Assad, North Korea, and the late Saddam Hussein.
The FBI observed Xie outside of New York City’s Trump Tower building in April, and later the accused shared two photos to his Instagram account. One was captioned, “I want to bomb Trump Tower,” and the other featured a yes-or-no poll asking if Xie should bomb Trump Tower.
Xie also reportedly wrote, “OK, so I went to NYC today and passed by Trump Tower and then I started laughing hysterically. … I forgot to visit the Israeli embassy in NYC. … I want to bomb this place along with Trump Tower.”
Xie is due to appear in federal court in Newark and faces charges of attempting to provide material support to a designated terror group, making false statements, and transmitting a threat of interstate commerce, WNBC reported.
What did the U.S. attorney say?
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said, “Homegrown violent extremists like Xie are a serious threat to national security. The actions that he took and planned to take made that threat both clear and present, and we commend our law enforcement partners for working closely with us to stop him before he could carry out his plans to commit violence on American soil.
“We will continue to do everything in our power to safeguard our country and its citizens from the threat of terrorism, whether that threat comes from abroad or – as here – from within,” he added.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Gregory Ehrie added:
The FBI remains vigilant in its efforts to protect the public from those who support terrorist groups and ideologies. Thanks to the hard work and determination of our agents and their law enforcement partners on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, this defendant’s further support to terrorism was disrupted and a threat to the safety of our community was averted. This case also illustrates the value of public awareness and participation. When you report suspicious activity, you become a force multiplier in the mission to keep America safe.