A teenage Pennsylvanian boy has been detained by the FBI for allegedly threatening to launch an ISIS-inspired assault on Pope Francis during the Catholic leader’s US tour, ABC News reports.
“The minor was inspired by ISIS
and sought to conduct a detailed homeland attack which included multiple attackers, firearms, and multiple explosives, targeting a foreign dignitary at a high-profile event,” said a joint intelligence bulletin by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security cited by ABC News.
Pope Francis is arriving the U.S next week for a six day trip.
“The minor obtained explosives instructions and further disseminated these instructions through social media,” said the joint intelligence bulletin.
The teenager has been charged with attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organisation and attempting to provide material support to terrorist activity, the bulletin added. But the network said sources familiar with the case emphasised that any threat from him was not imminent. Questions about the boy’s mental health were also raised.
Despite repeated threats from ISIS and other groups to target the Pope and the Vatican more broadly over the past year, there is no specific, credible threat to the Pope during his visit to the United States next week, law enforcement officials said Monday.
“We will not comment on any specific investigation or threat,” a spokeswoman for the FBI’s field office in Philadelphia said in a statement sent to The Independent.
“The FBI is working closely with the United States Secret Service and our federal, state and local partners in advance of the papal visit to ensure the safety and security of all.” she added.