Georgia man pleads guilty to plotting White House terror attack

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Monuments in DC and an unnamed synagogue were among the targets, prosecutors say

A 23-year-old Georgia man has pleaded guilty to plotting a terrorist attack on the White House and other American landmarks, US justice officials say.

Hasher Jallal Taheb was arrested by FBI agents last January while trying to obtain weapons, including explosives and anti-tank devices.

The Statue of Liberty and Washington Monument were among his targets, according to the FBI.

He will be sentenced to 15 years in prison on 23 June, 2020.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said Taheb's plot was "part of what he claimed was his obligation to engage in jihad".

Taheb was caught following an investigation by the FBI Atlanta's Joint Terrorism Task Force that lasted over a year.

He was initially reported by a member of his community in Cumming, Georgia, where he lived with his mother and was working as a labourer at a car washing, according to local media. The concerned acquaintance told authorities Taheb had become radicalised and wanted to travel abroad. Authorities said Taheb was influenced by the teachings of the late al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki.

When he was unable to obtain a passport, he began plotting attacks in the US, including on the Lincoln Memorial and an unnamed synagogue.

Taheb showed an undercover agent sketches of the White House and detailed what types of weapons - like semi-automatic rifles and hand grenades - he wanted to use.

He said he wanted to "blow a hole in the White House" with an anti-tank weapon, according to prosecutors.

On 16 January, 2019, Taheb was arrested when he tried to sell his vehicle for these items.

US Attorney Byung J Pak said Mr Taheb's plan "would have resulted in unimaginable injury".

"We are grateful to community members who noticed his dangerous evolution and alerted law enforcement. Along with our federal, state and local partners, we will remain vigilant in order to disrupt these types of attacks before they happen."