Prophecy News Watch In The Crossfire - ISIS Fanatic Targets Idaho Churches

News Image By PNW Staff April 10, 2024
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While getting little media attention, Christians in the northern Idaho town of Coeur d'Alene are breathing a sigh of relief after the FBI arrested an 18-year-old resident just before his plot to attack churches this past weekend on behalf of ISIS.

Alexander Mercurio is now facing a federal charge of attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization after the FBI says he devised a plan to "incapacitate his father, restrain him using handcuffs, and steal his firearms to use for maximum casualties" in an attack he had been planning to carry out in the resort city on Sunday, April 7. 

"The defendant allegedly pledged loyalty to ISIS and sought to attack people attending churches in Idaho, a truly horrific plan which was detected and thwarted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force," FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement. 

The FBI says the investigation began when Mercurio, who is a resident of Coeur d’Alene, "reached out to confidential human sources online and indicated his support for ISIS and terrorist organizations." 

"Mercurio spread ISIS propaganda online and solicited ISIS’s involvement in and approval of his propaganda efforts, discussed traveling from the United States to join ISIS, and considered and planned ways to support ISIS financially," an FBI investigator wrote in the complaint. 

"His attack plan involved using flame-covered weapons, explosives, knives, a machete, a pipe and ultimately firearms," the investigator added. "His plan grew more precise as he eventually identified the specific church and date on which he planned to attack." 

The FBI investigator also said Mercurio "made a ba’yah statement, pledging his allegiance to ISIS and stating his intention to die while killing others on behalf of ISIS." 

But on Saturday afternoon, FBI agents carried out a search warrant at Mercurio’s house and took him into custody while allegedly finding items linked to the plot, including a "metal pipe," "a black Smith and Wesson fixed blade knife" and a "machete," according to the complaint. 

Mercurio now faces up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted on the federal charge. 

Prophecy News Watch is located in Coeur d'Alene and its staff attend local churches. The organization has been one of the leading Christian news sources for current events and it's relationship to Bible Prophecy for over 10 years and reaches an audience of over 350,000 subscribers worldwide. 

Prophecy News Watch CEO Kade Hawkins commented that they regularly include news related stories about the dangers of Islamic extremism but this is the first time such a threat has been localized and potentially even put the lives of PNW staff at risk. 

He warned that such events are a reminder of how quickly things are changing in our world.  "we can't bury our head in the sand and think that global events don't affect us because we might live in a more remote part of the country".  

While border issues are extremely important, we shouldn't ignore what is happening to the mindset of people who already live here.  The recent rallies in Dearborn Michigan which featured chants of "Death To America" are what you would expect to be coming from the Middle East, not a major American city.

The Israel-Hamas war has forced many people to confront what they believe about Israel, Islam and the Bible.  Unfortunately polls have shown large numbers of people (especially young people) lack both a historical and Biblical understanding of what is going on and are too easily influenced by the media and other social platforms about what to believe.

This past weekends events have put a fresh passion in the staff of Prophecy News Watch to continue to inform people of world events from a Biblical perspective and we covet your prayers as we continue to take a stand for Biblical truth.

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