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Terrorism

FBI uncovers ISIS plot to assassinate former US President George W. Bush

The suspect also said that he had helped smuggle two individuals into the US associated with the Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Published: Updated:

The FBI has uncovered a plot by an ISIS member to kill former US President George W. Bush, according to a report published on Tuesday.

US authorities tracked the alleged ISIS member via WhatsApp, and he was reportedly based in Columbus, Ohio.

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His plot to kill Bush was engineered because he blames the former president for killing Iraqis and “breaking apart the country after the 2003 US military invasion,” Forbes.com reported.

He entered the US in 2020 and was applying for asylum.

But undercover FBI agents communicated with the plot organizer and eventually delivered a phone that was being tracked. “As part of its surveillance of the alleged plotters, the FBI recently received permission to acquire mobile location information from AT&T,” Forbes reported. “It had already used what’s known as a ‘pen register’ on the WhatsApp account believed to belong to the chief suspect, helping them determine how often the account was used, what numbers it was contacting and whether or not it was active.”

Al Arabiya English has reached out to the US Justice Department for comment.

Throughout the operation, the FBI learned that the alleged ISIS member was a member of Baath and ISIS chat groups on WhatsApp messenger. “In another conversation with an informant, the suspect claimed to have ‘been in recent communications with a friend in Qatar who was a former minister in Iraq under Saddam Hussein who had access to large quantities of money and was messaging him over WhatsApp, the FBI said.”

Last November, the operative traveled to Dallas, Texas, to record footage around Bush’s home. He also tried to recruit other extremists via smuggling routes through the Mexican border.

Forbes quoted the chief of staff for the Office of George W. Bush, saying the former president “has all the confidence in the world in the United States Secret Service and our law enforcement and intelligence communities.”

Also, in the report, the ISIS operative had another target: a former Iraqi general he believes is living in the US under an alias.

A former Iraqi pilot for Saddam Hussein, based in Qatar until recently dying, was the group’s leader plotting the assassination of Bush, Forbes reported.

The suspect also said that he had helped smuggle two individuals into the US associated with the Iran-backed Hezbollah. Forbes said he charged each Hezbollah operative $50,000, citing an FBI report.

“Also, in the FBI court filing, the alleged plotter claimed to be a member of ‘the resistance’ and had killed many Americans in Iraq between 2003 and 2006, packing vehicles with explosives and detonating them when US soldiers were near,” Forbes reported.

Read more: US intelligence uncovers plot by Iran’s Quds Force to assassinate John Bolton: Report

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