Ohio Man Indicted for Planned Attack on Synagogue

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January 30, 2019

An Ohio man was indicted for planning to attack a synagogue in Toledo and cause mass casualties on behalf of ISIS.

A federal grand jury in Ohio returned a three-count indictment against Damon M. Joseph, 21, also known as Abdulla Ali Yusef, charging him with attempting to provide material support to ISIS, attempting to commit a hate crime, and possession of firearms to commit the attack, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

Joseph allegedly was deciding between two synagogues in Toledo to attack and wanted to inflict mass casualties. He also also said he wanted to kill a rabbi.

According to the DOJ, Joseph stated on Dec. 4 he was deciding between the two synagogues and said it would depend on "which one will have [the] most people, what time and what day. Go big or go home." He was speaking to someone he thought was affiliated with ISIS who was actually an undercover FBI agent.

Joseph met with the undercover agent several times and discussed plans for a mass shooting at a synagogue and the types of weapons he needed for the attack. He wanted AR 15s, AK 47s, Glocks, and ammunition.

Joseph allegedly wrote last month the name and address of the synagogue where the attack was to occur after he researched when the Jewish Sabbath was so that more people would be present. Joseph also had photographs of the inside of the synagogue and said he wanted the attack to begin in the sanctuary.

The undercover agent met Joseph on Dec. 7 to provide him with the weapons he requested to carry out the attack. The semi-automatic rifles were rendered inoperable by law enforcement. Joseph was then arrested.

Court documents show that Joseph came to the attention of federal law enforcement in 2018 when postings on his social media accounts showed his support for ISIS. In his initial interactions with undercover agents Joseph expressed his support for "martyrdom operations" and said he wanted to attack on behalf of ISIS.

After the mass shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue last October, Joseph said, "I admire what the guy did with the shooting, actually … I can see myself carrying out this type of operation inshallah. They wouldn't even expect [an attack] in my area…"

In conversations with the agent from September through December 2018, Joseph had discussed numerous targets before deciding on a synagogue. When asked what he considered a legitimate target, he said, "people who are openly against Islam for one thing, all military obviously, people who disrespect the prophet and Allah. Like the Charlie Hebdo thing—I supported that 100%."

Published under: ISIS