Florida man charged with plotting to blow up a Miami-area synagogue
From the Chicago Tribune
A Florida man was arrested last week for intending to use “a weapon of mass destruction” at a synagogue near Miami, according to federal authorities.
The FBI says the man never possessed an actual explosive weapon, but instead got an inert device from a bureau employee working undercover after a weeks-long probe.
Officials said that they began investigating James Gonzalo Medina in March after learning that he discussed wanting to attack a South Florida synagogue. Medina, 40, of Hollywood, Florida, was arrested Friday while carrying the device toward the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, a facility that is also home to a Holocaust memorial and an education facility for children.
Rabbi Jonathan Berkun and the center’s executive director, Elliot B. Karp, said they were assured by security officials that “the synagogue and school were never at risk at any time” and were told no other credible threats had been found.
In an FBI affidavit, authorities said that Medina had initially told a confidential federal source that he wanted to attack the center using AK-47 assault rifles. . .Medina then shifted his focus to leaving a bomb behind, the affidavit said.
Medina is described by the FBI as having converted to Islam about four years earlier and wanting to attack a synagogue “because Jewish people are the ones causing the world’s wars and conflicts.” In a transcript of a recorded conversation with the FBI’s unnamed source, Medina states that he wanted to “strike back” against Jewish people, adding: “It’s a war, man, and it’s like it’s time to strike back here in America.”
When an FBI employee posing as someone who could deliver explosives to the plot asked Medina why he wanted to bomb the synagogue, Medina responded by saying it was his “call of duty” and something he had to do “for the glory of Allah.”
The FBI also allege that Medina wanted to make it look like the attack was sponsored in some way by the Islamic State, because he felt that “would go nationwide and inspire other Muslims to attack as well.” Medina is also quoted as saying: “Next thing you know it will be in California, Washington, and the brothers are saying you know, it’s our time now.”