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Coeur d'Alene IDAHO credit Google Maps Nik Cannell header.png
Coeur d'Alene IDAHO credit Google Maps Nik Cannell.png
Google Maps / Nik Cannell
USA News

US teen arrested over alleged plans to attack churches in the name of ISIS

by Heather Preston

The FBI has arrested an 18-year-old man from Idaho, for allegedly planning to kill churchgoers in his local town after pledging his allegiance to Islamic State.

Alexander Scott Mercurio is accused of plotting to attack multiple churches in Coeur d'Alene on Sunday, "using weapons, including knives, firearms, and fire".

According to a statement from the Justice Department, a search of his parents' home found items consistent with his planned attack, including a "metal pipe, handcuffs, folding saw, head coverings, two canisters of butane fuel, and machete". Several firearms were also discovered in his father's bedroom.

Court documents say Mercurio "stated he intended to incapacitate his father with a pipe, handcuff him, and use the firearms locked in the closet to attack the church".

Mercurio allegedly pledged loyalty to ISIS and sought to attack people attending churches in Idaho on 7th April 2024, before the conclusion of Ramadan.

Mercurio used his school-issued computer to plan the attack after finding 'purpose' in ISIS, according to an affidavit. He allegedly outlined plans to "kill as many as possible" at multiple local churches in an act of martyrdom.

"This case should be an eye-opener to the dangers of self-radicalisation, which is a real threat to our communities," special agent in charge Shohini Sinha of the Salt Lake City FBI said.

He now faces charges of attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS – a designated terrorist organisation. If convicted, Mercurio faces up to 20 years in prison.

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