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Demetrius Pitts, from Cleveland, Ohio was arrested after allegedly making plans for a terrorist attack on the city’s downtown July 4th parade with an undercover agent.
Pitts, who’s name used to be Abdur Raheem Rafeeq was taken into custody Sunday and has been charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, Stephen Anthony of the FBI said in a news conference.
Pitts came under FBI surveillance in 2017 after he went on social media to express a hatred of the United States and a desire to join the terrorist group al Qaeda, Anthony said.
At first the agent and Pitts talked about placing bombs inside small remote-controlled cars, but in a July 27 conversation Pitts said they should also detonate an explosives-laden vehicle, the affidavit said.
Pitts met an undercover agent in June, said an affidavit provided by the FBI, and the two began discussing his desire to join al Qaeda and potential acts of terror.
“What would hit them in the core?” Pitts asked in a secretly recorded conversation on June 22, according to the affidavit. “Blow up in the, have a bomb to blow up at the 4th of July parade.” Pitts told the agent he would conduct surveillance in downtown Cleveland and later gave the agent a phone with photos and videos of potential bomb targets, such as Voinovich Park and the US Coast Guard Station, according to the affidavit.