Arizona teen sent to prison over JCC attack plot

Arizona teenager sentenced to eight years in prison for plotting an attack on the Tucson Jewish Community Center.

Elad Benari ,

Jailed terrorist (illustration)
Jailed terrorist (illustration)
Flash 90

An Arizona teenager has been sentenced to eight years in prison for plotting an attack on government buildings and the Tucson Jewish Community Center, JTA reported Sunday.

Mahin Khan, 18, was sentenced on Friday in Maricopa County Superior Court, a month after he pleaded guilty to charges of terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism and conspiracy to commit misconduct involving weapons, according to the news agency.

Khan had struck a plea bargain with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. He was sentenced to five years on a conspiracy to commit terrorism charge, three years for conspiracy for misconduct involving weapons and lifetime probation on a charge of inciting or inducing terrorism. The judge ordered him to hand over his passport as well.

Khan was arrested in his parents’ home on July 1 and has been held in prison without bail for fear he would flee to Syria or Pakistan, according to JTA.

His parents have said that Khan is autistic and not capable of carrying out the terror attacks he had planned. Family and friends who testified on his behalf described him as having poor impulse control and a childlike demeanor, according to the Arizona Republic.

Khan was reportedly known to the FBI since he was 15 years old and reportedly spent 45 days in a mental institution, according to JTA.

The FBI told the court during the trial that Khan had described himself in an email as an “American jihadist” who supports the Islamic State (ISIS).

In contact with undercover FBI agents, Khan said he wanted to carry out “lone jihadist” attacks that would kill hundreds of people in Arizona.

Khan revealed his desire to attack the JCC while speaking with an undercover FBI employee in 2015.

His case is another example of the phenomenon of radicalization in the U.S., where a string of Americans have been found in recent years to have attempted to join ISIS or support the group in other ways.

Examples include a 16-year-old accused of planning to join the group and who was found guilty of illegal possession of a firearm in South Carolina, having been charged with this offense as South Carolina has no anti-terrorism laws.

His conviction followed the arrest of six Somali Americans from Minnesota who allegedly planned to travel to Syria to join ISIS.

In Arizona, a local man was charged in 2015 with supporting ISIS by helping a New York college student get terror training in Syria.

There have also been several other cases, like Khan’s, where these radicals specifically targeted Jews.

Earlier this year, a South Florida man was arrested and charged with trying to blow up a local synagogue with a fake bomb following an FBI sting operation.

The man, 40-year-old James Medina, allegedly supported ISIS and claimed an obligation to attack Jews in the U.S.