NEWARK, N.J. – A 20-year-old New Jersey man who sent money to try and help fund a terror group allegedly said that he wanted to bomb Trump Tower and the Israeli Consulate in New York.
According to police, the suspect was obsessed with the terrorist group Hamas and wanted to commit violent acts against Jewish people.
The suspect was identified as Jonathan Xie, of Basking Ridge, New Jersey. He was arrested Wednesday on charges of attempting to provide material support to a designated terror group, making false statements and transmitting a threat of interstate commerce.
The criminal complaint noted that in an Instagram video online, Xie said, “Okay, so I went to NYC today and passed by Trump Tower and then I started laughing hysterically . . . s*** I forgot to visit the Israeli embassy in NYC … i want to bomb this place along with Trump Tower.”
In later posts, officials said that Xie said, “I want to shoot the pro-israel demonstrators . . . you can get a gun and shoot your way through or use a vehicle and ram people . . . all you need is a gun or vehicle to go on a rampage . . . I do not care if security forces come after me, they will have to put a bullet in my head to stop me.”
Xie also said that he would “find a way” to join the radical Hamas group, and even displayed their flag.
He reportedly used an app called Moneygram to send $100 to someone in Gaza that he believed to be involved with Hamas. Then he immediately admitted it online.
“Just donated $100 to Hamas. Pretty sure it was illegal but I don’t give a damn,” the post read.
Though Xie is said to have a history of mental issues, that won’t stop prosecutors from pushing forward with criminal terror charges. Xie allegedly had three guns in his family home when authorities searched it.
Earlier this year, Xie reportedly lied to try and enlist in the United States Army so that he could acquire training. Xie filled out a Security Clearance Application for National Security Positions in February and answered “no” to the question “Have you ever associated with anyone involved in activities to further terrorism?” An error occurred in the application processing and he had to do it again 10 days later. He answered the same.
“Homegrown violent extremists like Xie are a serious threat to national security,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said following the charges. “The actions that he took and planned to take made that threat both clear and present, and we commend our law enforcement partners for working closely with us to stop him before he could carry out his plans to commit violence on American soil. We will continue to do everything in our power to safeguard our country and its citizens from the threat of terrorism, whether that threat comes from abroad or – as here – from within.”
A special agent with the Newark FBI said, “This case also illustrates the value of public awareness and participation. When you report suspicious activity, you become a force multiplier in the mission to keep America safe.”
Xie was due in federal court on Wednesday afternoon.
If convicted on all charges, he could face years in prison and more than $1 million in fines.