ISIS supporter planned attack on Ohio synagogue

Suspect was inspired by the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre.

January 31, 2019 07:00
2 minute read.
Damon Joseph, 21, planned an attack on a synagogue in Toledo, Ohio, U.S. December 10, 2018.

Damon Joseph, 21, planned an attack on a synagogue in Toledo, Ohio, U.S. December 10, 2018. . (photo credit: LUCAS COUNTY CORRECTIONS CENTER/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)


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A man was indicted on a federal hate crime charge for planning a mass shooting at a synagogue in Ohio, the Associated Press reported on January 30.

Damon Joseph, 21 from a suburb of Toledo, was partly inspired by the deadly attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Joseph is additionally charged with trying to provide material support to ISIS.

Joseph did not pose an immediate threat to the public, according to the investigators. However, he spent months talking about and planning for an attack. He was under investigation for several months by the FBI, and was arrested after receiving two AR-15 rifles from an undercover agent.

Court documents revealed that Joseph tried to choose which synagogue to attack based on "which one will have the most people, what time and what day. Go big or go home."

“I admire what the guy did with the shooting,” he said of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter.

Robert Bowers was accused of storming into the Tree of Life temple in Squirrel Hill, the heart of Pittsburgh's close-knit Jewish community, yelling "all Jews must die" as he opened fire on members of three congregations holding Shabbat services there on Saturday morning.

In addition to the 11 elderly worshipers who were killed, six people, including four police officers who confronted the gunman, were wounded before the suspect surrendered. Two of the surviving victims remained hospitalized in critical condition.

The report comes amid an uptick in antisemitic crime over the past few years.

Meanwhile, there have been several assaults on Jewish victims in New York's Crown Heights over the last year.

In December, there was an attack on a Jewish teen in Queens, New York which was later classified as a gang incident and not a hate crime, angering the local Jewish community.

The Jewish boy, David Paltielov, 16, remained hospitalized one week after the November 29 attack in the Forest Hills neighborhood, the Gothamist reported. He was wearing a kippah and tzitzit at the time of the attack.

Two other Orthodox Jewish teens were attacked in separate incidents in Brooklyn on the same day.

In a related development, in October last year, an Orthodox Jewish man was beaten at a traffic intersection in Brooklyn in an assault that was determined to be a hate crime by the New York City Police Department.

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