FBI Busts ISIS-Inspired Teens Allegedly Plotting Major Terror Attack in Chicago


According to court documents unsealed Friday, three teenagers planned to carry out a terror attack at a Chicago mosque.

The FBI intercepted 18-year-old Xavier Pelkey of Waterville, Maine, and a 15-year-old and 17-year-old from Chicago and Kentucky who were allegedly conspiring to meet in Chicago during spring break to carry out mass murder, NBC News reported.

The three planned to enter a Shia mosque “and separate the adults from the children, then murder the adults” in the name of the Islamic State group, the court documents stated.

“If they had not encountered law enforcement at that point, they would continue on to another Shia mosque or Jewish synagogue and execute the same plan,” the FBI said in a court filing.

“They did not have a plan to escape but rather their plan ended with them being shot by law enforcement.”

Elon Musk Announces Twitter Deal 'Cannot Move Forward' Unless CEO Proves Key Claim

The teens had coordinated their meeting and intended killings over Instagram and other social media platforms, NBC reported.

FBI agents raided Pelkey’s home in February and found hand-painted Islamic State flags and crude homemade explosives. The bombs were made of fireworks bundled together with staples, pins and thumbtacks as shrapnel.

Pelkey claimed he had bound the fireworks together for a “bigger boom,” according to CBS News, but that did not account for the sharp metal objects attached to the explosive, investigators said.

Pelkey had a desire to die as a martyr for the Islamic State terror group, FBI agent Garret Drew stated, according to WMTW-TV.

Authorities also raided the teenagers’ homes in Chicago and Kentucky.

During the searches, they found and seized “multiple firearms, including a Remington pump shotgun, swords, knives, a bow and arrows, multiple homemade ISIS flags, and multiple electronic devices,” according to the FBI.

Pelkey has been charged with possession of a destructive device without proper registration. His court-appointed defense attorney could not be reached by WMTW for comment.

The Islamic State terror group is a Sunni Islamist organization that seeks to establish a global Islamic caliphate.

Biden Claims Credit for Take Down of ISIS Leader - 6 Children Reportedly Killed in Raid

The group has a worldwide network of sympathizers and militants that it has used to carry out terror attacks in Western countries.

The group was significantly diminished under former President Donald Trump but retains a weakened presence in troubled regions of the world such as sub-Saharan and Central Africa, Afghanistan, and pockets of Iraq and Syria.

The Islamic State group has a strong aversion to Shiite Islam, which it considers a rejection of authentic Islam.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , , , , ,
Andrew Jose is a journalist covering security, politics, and foreign policy, among other beats. Follow Andrew on Twitter: @realAndrewJose
Andrew Jose is a journalist covering security, politics, and foreign policy, among other beats. Speak to Andrew securely via Follow Andrew on Twitter: @realAndrewJose
Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
Foreign Policy, Economics, Aviation, Business And Finance