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Ohio ISIS supporter who plotted synagogue attack sentenced to 20 years in prison

An Ohio man who expressed support for the Islamic State terrorist group and said he wanted to attack a synagogue in Toledo was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Monday.

Damon Joseph, 23, was arrested in 2018 after picking up what he believed to be two semi-automatic rifles, the Justice Department said.

Joseph, who was called Abdullah Ali Yusuf, pleaded guilty in May to attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization and attempting to commit a heinous crime.

He was sentenced to 20 years in prison and will be on probation for the rest of his life, the Justice Department said on Monday.

Officials said he was preparing the attack for the Sabbath when more people were present, and identified two synagogues as potential targets.

“In a matter of months, Damon Joseph went from being a self-radicalized virtual jihadist to planning a real attack on his fellow Americans,” Eric Smith, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Cleveland office, said in a statement. . He called Joseph’s actions “antithetical to a just and free society.”

Lawyers listed as representing Joseph did not immediately return requests for comment on Monday evening.

The FBI began investigating Joseph after posting photos of guns online, an image distributed by the Islamic State group’s media wing and a ring bearing the same words as the group’s flag, according to court documents.

Joseph later said he wanted to attack synagogues while communicating with undercover FBI agents, officials said.

He said he wanted an AK-47 and an AR-15 and was arrested on December 7, 2018, after picking up a black bag containing two rifles, the Justice Department said. Both weapons had been modified and could not have fired, officials said.

The arrest came just over a month after a gunman attacked the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 people.

The alleged shooter in that case has been charged with 63 counts, including hate crime charges, and faces life in prison without parole or the death penalty if convicted.