OAN’s Brooke Mallory
2:44 PM – Friday, November 3, 2023
Christopher Wray, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), said that a Jordanian national who resides in Houston, Texas, has openly expressed his support for the extermination of Jewish people.
The federal count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person is now being brought against 20-year-old Sohaib Abuayyash.
Wray referenced Abuayyash when testifying on Tuesday before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security, however, he did not use his name. Wray spoke about risks facing the nation in terms of possible copy-cat terrorists, and also mentioned a rise in anti-Semitism.
“We have seen that with an individual we arrested last week in Houston had studied how to build bombs and posted online about his support for killing Jews,” Wray said during the testimony.
Wray also said that the biggest concern facing the U.S. was violent religious extremists who draw inspiration from Middle Eastern terrorist attacks in order to study them further and later plan attacks on Americans, referring to Abuayyash.
Abuayyash is a Jordanian national who travels with a Palestinian passport, according to the criminal complaint that was filed. In 2020, he filed an asylum application in the United States, which is currently pending.
The lawsuit states that the 20-year-old is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition due to his present legal status in the United States.
The document included screenshots from his social media posts on Instagram and TikTok that show Abuayyash was utilizing several different firearms at local shooting ranges in Houston.
“Abuayyash has been in direct contact with others who share a radical mindset, has been conducting physical training, and has trained with weapons possibly to commit an attack,” the criminal complaint states.
A judge signed documents expressing that since there are no conditions to ensure that the community or anyone else is safe, Abuayyash should be kept in custody until his trial date, just to be safe.
The FBI released the following statement, but also said that they were unable to comment on the case at this time due to its pending status.
The statement reads: “The FBI is continuing to monitor threats associated with the Israel-HAMAS conflict in the United States and overseas. As the conflict continues, the FBI has seen an increase in reports of threats against Jewish, Muslim, and Arab communities and institutions, raising our concern that violent extremists and lone offenders motivated by or reacting to ongoing events could target these communities. We take all potential threats seriously and are working closely with our law enforcement partners to determine their credibility, share information, and take appropriate investigative action. As we are communicating with our law enforcement partners, faith communities, and others, the Public Service Announcement linked below is being released by the FBI and DHS to the American public to help protect our communities. We ask members of the public to immediately report anything or anyone they consider suspicious to law enforcement or contact their local FBI Office: www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices. Tips can also be submitted to tips.fbi.gov or 1-800-CALL FBI.”
“Lone actors” who keep their extremist ideas to themselves also worry the FBI, according to the agency. They often aim to assault “soft, familiar targets” using weapons that are easy to acquire, a spokeswoman warned. Additionally, it is much more difficult to locate, look into, and dissuade those individuals before they execute their schemes.
The Anti-Defamation League’s southwest regional director, Mark Toubin, stated that his organization has seen a major rise in anti-Semitic events following the October 7th Hamas attacks. The group reportedly received 312 complaints of incidents from October 7th to October 23rd, compared to 64 nationally during the same time last year.
“Unfortunately, there are those who have said that those kinds of heinous crimes are justified because of the conflict, and when you start from there, you can only imagine what kind of green light it provides other people,” Toubin asserted.
Lizzie Fletcher, a Congresswoman and member of the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism, posted the following statement highlighting the arrest of the Jordanian national.
“I am deeply concerned by reports of a possible terrorist plot to attack the Jewish community in Houston. As antisemitic threats against Jews in the United States have reached historic levels in recent weeks, it is critical that we ensure the safety of Jewish families in Texas’ Seventh Congressional District and across our country. I am grateful and relieved that the FBI acted swiftly to thwart any planned attack, and I am requesting an immediate briefing from the FBI to discuss efforts to keep our community’s Jewish families safe,” Fletcher said.
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