FBI: Cleveland Man Charged in Suspected July 4 Terror Plot

A Cleveland man was charged with terrorism after telling an undercover agent that he wanted to detonate a bomb in the city on July 4th, and expressing a repeated desire to join al Qaeda, law-enforcement officials said at a Monday press conference. The FBI is said to have first become aware of Demetrius Pitts, also known as Abdur Raheem Rahfeeq, when he allegedly voiced support for al Qaeda and “violent intentions” online in 2017. According to an affidavit filed in the case, Pitts, in a conversation with an undercover agent last week, said, “What would hit them at their core?... Blow up at the Fourth of July parade.” They also had a “lengthy” conversation in which “Pitts indicated his desire to participate in a terrorist attack on July, and his desire to kill military members and others.” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman claimed that Pitts, who is a United States citizen, had spent the last week scoping out local sites, including St. John’s Cathedral, which he said he wanted to take “off the map.” He will be charged in federal court today, and could face as many as 20 years in prison.