A naturalized American citizen born in Kosovo was arrested Saturday on charges of planning to attack Tampa-area nightclubs and a sheriff’s office, federal authorities said Monday. Sami Osmakac, arrested on the day he was set to carry out his attacks, bought disabled explosive devices and firearms from an undercover FBI agent with the intent of creating “mayhem” by killing innocent people to avenge wrongs done to Muslims, according to reports.
According to the complaint, last September a source informed the FBI that Osmakac entered his/her business looking to purchase flags that represent al-Qaeda. In November, Osmakac and the source identified potential targets to attack. The source then directed the Kosovo native to an undercover FBI agent for assistance in obtaining weapons; Osmakac reportedly asked for an explosive belt, grenades, an AK-47, an Uzi, and high-capacity ammunition magazines. When the undercover agent told Osmakac that he still had time to back out of the plot, Osmakac reportedly said, “We all have to die, so why not die the Islamic way?”
According to an FBI and Homeland Security bulletin, Osmakac’s target and tactics differ from other recent homegrown terror incidents, which have primarily targeted military and government facilities. Osmakac apparently chose to attack civilian targets, which are less secure and can result in a greater number of casualties. It is not believed that Osmakac is connected to any foreign terrorist organization.
The uncovering of this plot is a somber reminder that, even as the U.S. winds down its war against terror abroad, the war against ‘lone wolf’ terrorists and extremists inside the country will carry on, if not continue to expand.