An Iraqi man seeking political asylum in the United States has plotted to assassinate former President George W. Bush, the Justice Department said Tuesday.
According to an FBI affidavit filed in federal court in Columbus, Ohio, Shihab Ahmed Shihab, 52, told an FBI informant that he wanted to smuggle at least four Iraqis across the border into Mexico to carry out the plot.
Two of the wounded will be former Iraqi intelligence agents, others will be members of the Islamic State or another Qatar-based extremist group, Shihab al-Ra’id.
Shihab told reporters that they wanted to assassinate Bush, who ordered the invasion of Iraq in 2003, “because they thought he was responsible for killing many Iraqis and destroying the whole of Iraq,” according to the filing.
He told the Associated Press that he was the cousin of former Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and had killed Americans in the years following the attack.
Shihab was arrested on Tuesday morning and charged in federal court with immigration charges and aiding and abetting the assassination of a former U.S. official.
Shihab, a Columbus resident, and the informant went so far to observe Bush-related locations in Dallas, Texas, and discussed how to use guns, security official uniforms, and vehicles on the plot.
He also offered to help a second FBI informant smuggle his family members into the free state for thousands of dollars.
Shihab arrived in the United States on a visitor visa in September 2020 and sought political asylum when his visa expired in March 2021.
The affidavit indicates that the FBI first contacted Shihab shortly afterwards.
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