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Man admits he tried to help plan terror attack on Virginia

Posted at 1:59 PM, Oct 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-17 13:59:11-04

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A Virginia man pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) — a terrorist organization.

Haris Qamar, 26, of Burke, Virginia, attempted to help ISIL encourage lone wolf attacks both in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia, according to U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Dana Boente.

Qamar and a FBI confidential witness discussed ISIL’s need of photos of possible targets in and around Washington, D.C., for use in a video that ISIL was purportedly making to encourage an attack, investigators said.

“Qamar offered [the witness] ideas of where to take these photographs, including the Pentagon and numerous landmarks in Arlington and Washington, D.C., which could be targeted for terrorist attacks,” a U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesperson said. “On June 3, a conversation was audio and video recorded when [the witness] picked up Qamar in a vehicle and they drove to area landmarks on the list Qamar had developed. Qamar said ‘bye bye DC, stupid ass kufar, kill’em all.’ Qamar and [the witness] met again on June 10 and drove to a location in Arlington to take additional photos for the ISIL video.”

Qamar also expressed his interest for ISIL’s “extreme violence,” investigators said.

“This case demonstrates the reach terrorist organizations have through social media and the threat that they pose to our national security,” Paul Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said. “When Qamar could not travel overseas he attempted to assist ISIL’s propaganda campaign for the purpose of inspiring loan wolf attacks in the Washington, D.C. area. Qamar operated over numerous social media accounts where he proselytized ISIL’s message and praised the terrorist group when they committed gruesome acts.”

Qamar faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in January 2017.