FBI arrests Tampa man who researched Honeymoon Island mass shooting

Muhammed Momtaz Al-Azhari is now begin held in the Pinellas County jail.

click to enlarge Christopher Hollis for Wdwic Pictures / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)
Christopher Hollis for Wdwic Pictures / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

A Tampa man is being held in the Pinellas County jail, after the FBI charged him with attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Muhammed Momtaz Al-Azhari is accused of working with the "Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS),” a press release said. If convicted, Al-Azhari, 23, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

The release said Al-Azhari was arrested Sunday as part of an FBI sting, after he attempted to exchange weapons with an agency informant. Al-Azhari, a U.S. citizen with past criminal history in Saudi Arabia, also expressed admiration for Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a 2016 mass shooting at Orlando gay night club Pulse.

The FBI release said Al-Azhari, who was arrested on May 24 after he took possession of weapons to be used in an attack. He also spoke of his desire to carry out a similar mass casualty shooting.

“Al-Azhari researched and scouted potential targets in the Tampa area, including Honeymoon Island,” the release added. “He also rehearsed portions of an attack and the statements that he would make during or in connection with such an attack.”

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About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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