A 23-year-old Milwaukee man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly planning to carry out an attack on a Masonic temple, NBC News reports.
According to prosecutors, Samy Mohamed Hamzeh was charged with the unlawful purchase and possession of firearms, as well as the possession of an illegal machine gun.
The FBI arranged a fake buy for the weapons after informants notified the agency of Hamzeh's plans to target and attack a local Masonic temple.
The FBI first began investigating Hamzeh in September. In October, an informant reported Hamzeh was planning to travel to the West Bank and kill Israeli citizens. He soon, however, abandoned that plan and decided to stage a domestic attack instead.
Speaking with an informant of his plans to attack the temple, Hamzeh said,
I am telling you, if this hit is executed, it will be known all over the world…..Sure, all over the world, all the Mujahideen will be talking and they will be proud of us. This way we will be igniting it. I mean, we are marching at the front of the war.
Hamzeh identifies as a Muslim, saying his attack was a means to “defend Muslim religion"; however, he is not affiliated with any known terror groups.
In a statement, acting US Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad said,
Samy Mohamed Hamzeh devised a detailed plan to commit a mass shooting intended to kill dozens of people. he also said that he wanted this mass shooting to be 'known the world over' and to 'ignite' broader clashes. It is difficult to calculate the injury and loss of life that was prevented by concerned citizens coming forward and by the tireless efforts of the FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force.
If the attack was carried out, it would have been the second mass shooting to hit the Milwaukee area in less than four years.
In 2012, a white supremacist named Wade Michael Page shot and killed six people at a Sikh temple in nearby Oak Creek.