Earlier this week, a one-count information was filed charging Aziz Ihab Sayyed, 23, of Huntsville, Alabama, with attempting to provide services and personnel, namely himself, to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization. Sayyed pleaded guilty today.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town for the Northern District of Alabama and Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. of the FBI’s Birmingham Field Office made the announcement. The guilty plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon.
Sayyed acknowledged that he bought bomb-building ingredients last year, stated his aspirations to conduct ISIS-inspired attacks on police stations and Redstone Arsenal, and attempted to form a cell to conduct violent acts within the United States. Sayyed admitted knowing that ISIS is a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Between January and June of 2017 in Madison County, Sayyed, a U.S. citizen, obtained and viewed ISIS propaganda videos depicting ISIS forces committing bombings, executions by gunshot and beheading, and other violent acts, according to the court documents. Sayyed shared the videos and expressed his support for ISIS and for ISIS terrorist attacks around the world.
Sayyed researched and learned how to make triacetone triperoxide (TATP), a highly volatile and extremely dangerous explosive material, purchased the necessary ingredients for the explosive, and professed his aspiration to use TATP in an explosive belt and/or a car bomb, according to the plea agreement.
On June 13, 2017, Sayyed met with an individual he understood to be an ISIS member. The person was in fact an undercover employee (UCE) for the FBI. Sayyed and the UCE discussed the danger of TATP, ISIS’s preference for the use of certain explosives, and Sayyed’s desire to assist ISIS, according to the plea agreement. In that meeting, Sayyed offered himself as personnel to the UCE, believing that the UCE was an ISIS member.
Sayyed’s plea agreement stipulates a 15-year prison sentence.
The FBI investigated the case in conjunction with the Huntsville Police Department and the Madison County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Henry Cornelius and Davis Barlow of the Northern District of Alabama are prosecuting this case with the assistance of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.