The FBI has foiled a mass shooting targeting a Masonic temple in Milwaukee, the government said Tuesday. Milwaukee resident Samy Mohamed Hamzeh, 23, has been arrested and charged with possessing machine guns and a silencer, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced.
Hamzeh had engaged in extensive conversations with two confidential sources, speaking in Arabic, explaining how he had planned to execute the attack on the temple, the bureau says.
BREAKING: U.S. Attorney's office says FBI prevented a planned mass shooting at a Masonic temple in Milwaukee. 23yo MKE resident charged.
— A.J. Bayatpour (@AJBayatpour) January 26, 2016
“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,” said acting U.S. Attorney Gregory Haanstad in a news release. “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 the Joint Terrorism Task Force.”
Hamzeh had reportedly been under investigation since September 2015, and in October 2015 the investigation revealed he planned to travel to Jordan, enter the Israeli-occupied West Bank and attack Israeli soldiers and citizens living there. Later, Hamzeh abandoned those plans, focusing instead on the U.S. due to financial and logistical issues, the report went on to say.
“Thirty is excellent. If I got out, after killing 30 people, I will be happy 100 percent. . . 100 percent happy, because these 30 will terrify the world,” Hamzeh was recorded as saying, according to the report.
— TODAY'S TMJ4 (@tmj4) January 26, 2016
Hamzeh had purchased the machine guns and silencers from two individuals who were actually undercover FBI agents, resulting in his arrest Tuesday.
“I am telling you, if this hit is executed, it will be known all over the world,” Hamzeh was recorded as saying, according to the report. “The people will be scared and the operations will increase, and there will be problems all over, because more than one problem took place, and this will be the third problem, this will lead to people clashing with each other. This way we will be igniting it. I mean we are marching at the front of the war.”