US man charged over plan to attack Masonic temple

US man who allegedly plotted to attack Masonic temple has been arrested on gun charges

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Samy Mohamed Hamzeh had been under investigation by the FBI since September

A Milwaukee man who authorities said was planning to kill dozens of people in a mass shooting at a Masonic temple has been arrested and charged with possession of two machine guns and a silencer, federal officials said on Tuesday.

Samy Mohamed Hamzeh, 23, told two people who turned out to be FBI confidential sources that he planned to carry out the shooting at a Masonic temple in Milwaukee in an attack that would be "known the world over" and in order to "ignite broader clashes," the US Department of Justice said in a statement.

Hamzeh was arrested on Monday after he purchased the two machine guns and a silencer from undercover FBI agents during a meeting that included the FBI sources, authorities said.

The officials said Hamzeh had been under investigation since September and claimed that he first thought of an attack on Israelis in the West Bank but decided instead to plan an attack in the United States.

Hamzeh enlisted the help of two people he did not know were confidential sources for the FBI, and the trio had conversations about plans to attack the temple, said prosecutors.

The three reportedly took a guided tour of the Masonic temple on Jan. 19 to learn when and where people would be meeting and Hamzeh told the others they each needed to have a machine gun and a silencer, said the Justice Department.

A Masonic temple is a meeting place for Masons, members of a fraternal organisation.

TRTWorld, Reuters