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Man Faces Weapons Charges for Planned Mass Shooting in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) – A Milwaukee man who authorities say planned to kill dozens of people in a mass shooting at a local Masonic temple is to face weapons charges in federal court on Tuesday.

Samy Mohamed Hamzeh, 23, is to appear in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, where he is charged with possession of two machine guns and a silencer, according to online court records. He was arrested last month.

Hamzeh, a U.S. citizen, told two people who turned out to be FBI confidential sources that he was planning to use the weapons in an attack on a Milwaukee temple that would be “known the world over” in order to “ignite broader clashes,” according to court records.

Hamzeh was under investigation since September, when he was considering an attack on Israelis in the West Bank. He abandoned that plan and began plotting an attack in the United States, according to a criminal complaint against him.

Hamzeh enlisted the help of two people he did not know were confidential sources for the FBI. The trio had conversations in Arabic about plans to attack the temple that were secretly recorded by the sources, prosecutors said.

On Jan. 19, the three practiced firing a handgun at a range and then took a guided tour of the Masonic temple to discuss and plot the attack, the criminal complaint said.

“I am telling you, if this hit is executed, it will be known all over the world,” Hamzeh told the sources, according to the Justice Department. “Sure, all over the world, all the mujahedeen will be talking and they will be proud of us.”

He was arrested on Jan. 25 after he bought two machine guns and a silencer from undercover FBI agents to be used in the attack, authorities said.

A Masonic temple is a meeting place for Masons, members of a fraternal organization.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Dan Grebler)



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