A Pennsylvania man named Mustafa Mousab Alowemer was found guilty of conspiring with the international terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) to bomb a Nigerian church in Pittsburgh, US, and was given a 208-month sentence (17 years and 3 months) by a federal court in the United States.

According to a press release from the US Department of Justice on Wednesday, Alowemer’s prison sentence would be followed by a lifetime of supervised release. The statement was signed by Assistant Attorney-General Matthew G. Olsen of the DOJ National Security Division.

The 24-year-old admitted guilt in the Western District of Pennsylvania on September 16, 2021, to one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS in connection with his scheme to attack the aforementioned church.

The statement reads:

“Alowemer admitted to planning a deadly bombing of a Pittsburgh church in the name of ISIS,” said Olsen. “The National Security Division was created to protect the nation from terrorist threats and we remain vigilant against those who would plot violent attacks on US soil in furtherance of an extreme ideology.”

“The defendant’s plan to bomb a Pittsburgh church and risk death or injury to residents in the area in the name of ISIS was thwarted by the extraordinary work of the Pittsburgh Joint Terrorism Task Force,” said US Attorney Cindy K. Chung for the Western District of Pennsylvania. “Our office will continue to hold accountable individuals who threaten the safety of our communities.”

“I want to commend the great work of our Joint Terrorism Task Force, and that of their partners and sources, in successfully thwarting a planned terrorist attack in the name of ISIS,” said Assistant Director Robert R. Wells of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division.

“Alowemer’s plan to conduct an attack at a church in Pittsburgh and inspire other ISIS supporters in the United States was unsuccessful thanks to the efforts of law enforcement officials at both the federal and state level. This sentencing demonstrates the commitment we share with our partners to pursuing justice against those who violate our laws and seek to harm innocents in our communities.”

Alowemer allegedly planned to use an explosive device to bomb a church situated on Pittsburgh’s north side, according to court filings. His declared purpose in carrying out the attack was to aid ISIS in its goal and to encourage other ISIS followers in the United States to band together and carry out similar acts in support of ISIS.

In order to “get back at our [ISIS] comrades in Nigeria,” Alowemer also targeted the church, which he described as a “Nigerian Christian” church. Alowemer was aware that there might be many casualties from the explosion in the area around the church.

In support of the church bombing plot, Alowemer distributed multiple instructional manuals on the creation and usage of explosives and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to a person he mistook for a fellow ISIS supporter but turned out to be an FBI agent.