The sister of a recently caught terrorist in Florida was killed after she took a butcher knife and attacked police officers at the City Hall in Temple Terrace.
The Daily Mail reported:
Heba Momtaz Al-Azhari, 21, arrived at City Hall at around 1pm and asked for an officer’s help, officials said. When a uniformed officer went outside and approached the woman, she charged at him with a knife.
The deadly confrontation took place just days after Heba’s brother, Muhammed Momtaz Al-Azhari, 23, was arrested on federal charges of attempting to provide material support to ISIS.
According to the US Department of Justice, Muhammed admired Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen and allegedly told an informant he wanted to die like him after killing dozens of people.
His sister’s knife attack was captured on surveillance video, which opens with Heba Al-Azhari sitting on a bench.
Heba’s older brother, Muhammed Momtaz Al-Azhari, a 23-year-old US citizen, last week was arrested and charged with attempting to provide material support or resources to ISIS
A uniformed officer comes up to the woman wearing traditional Muslim garb and a face mask. Moments later, she jumps to her feet brandishing a long knife in her hands and lunges at the cop, who draws back.
The woman pursues him, making thrusting and slashing motions with the knife, as if trying to stab the officer.
The 30-second video released by the police department ends with another officer pointing his gun at someone.
Multiple cops responded to the scene and fired at Al-Azhari, though Albano wouldn’t say how many. The officer who was attacked sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
Al-Azhari later died of her injuries at a hospital.
‘It’s a very traumatic thing for an officer to pull his weapon and much less take a life,’ Albano said at the press conference.
According to the chief, the officer repeatedly and loudly told Al-Azhari to drop the knife.
The chief did not say how many officers were involved, how many fired their weapons or how many times the woman was shot. The officer who was attacked did fire his weapon, Albano said.
An Al-Azhari family spokesperson told Spectrum Bay News 9 Heba was upset over her brother’s arrest.
A federal criminal complaint released by the US Department of Justice charged Muhammed Momtaz Al-Azhari, a US citizen, with attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization. The charge carries a potential 20-year prison term.
A public defender listed in court records for Al-Azhari said the government’s charges in the case unfairly attempt to portray him as a terrorist.
‘The allegations misunderstand both the law and the evidence,’ said the public defender, Samuel Landes, in an emailed statement. ‘I’m thankful that in this country everyone enjoys a presumption of innocence, and I look forward to Mr. Al-Azhari’s day in court before a jury of his peers.’
An FBI affidavit says Al-Azhari was recorded as expressing admiration for Omar Mateen, the mass shooter who carried out a massacre at the Orlando Pulse nightclub in 2016 before being killed by police, and even drove there to scope out the location.
In a conversation with a confidential informant, the FBI says, Al-Azhari said ‘that’s how I want to die, to be honest.’
The informant then asked how many people Al-Azhari wanted to kill.
‘I don’t want to take four or five, no. I want to take at least 50,’ Al-Azhari replied on the recording, according to the affidavit. ‘You know like, brother Omar Mateen in Orlando did. He took 49 with him.’
The affidavit also details how Al-Azhari negotiated with an undercover FBI employee to purchase a variety of guns and silencers, including an AK-47-style rifle. He was arrested Sunday after taking possession of weapons allegedly to be used in an attack.
‘We are grateful for the hard work and swift action by our law enforcement partners and concerned citizens during this investigation,’ said US Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez, whose district includes Tampa. ‘Their coordination and cooperation in this matter allowed us to interrupt a serious threat, without harm to anyone.’
According to the 62-page FBI affidavit, Al-Azhari scouted a number of targets in the Tampa Bay region, including multiple beaches, Honeymoon Island State Park and even the Tampa FBI field office.
He also allegedly rehearsed what he would say when carrying out an attack, some of which was intercepted by electronic surveillance on May 16.
‘Know America. Today is your emergency. Today we kill from you guys like you killed from us,’ he is overheard saying, according to the affidavit. ‘This is a revenge for Muslims.’
Court-ordered searches of Al-Azhari’s iPhone also revealed numerous videos and extremist statements advocating jihad attributed to the Islamic State group. Another video, the FBI says, shows Al-Azhari in a facemask and pointing a gun at presumably someone on the floor.
‘Hey you, get on the floor. Get on the floor now. Don’t you move, don’t you move, I’m telling you, I will kill you,’ he says on the video.
Then, Al-Azhari looks into the camera and says: ‘God willing, the exalted. This is revenge for my brothers Al Muwahideen [the monotheists] in Guantanamo in general, and for my brother [redacted] in particular. …this is a revenge for all my Muslim brothers in Iraq and al-Sham [Syria] and everywhere.’
He then points the gun at what is presumed to be someone on the floor and says: ‘those who were killed by the hands of those filthy crusaders.’
Al-Azhari had previously been convicted in Saudi Arabia in 2015 of terror-related crimes, including attempting to travel to Syria to participate in jihad and join a terrorist group along with two others, including his own father.
He served three years in prison in Saudi Arabia and then was deported back to the US, according to the FBI. He lived in California and since 2019 in the Tampa area.
A key to the case was an eBay transaction in which Al-Hazhari purchased weapons parts for $375 from someone in Texas.
The package was halted by the US Postal Service and eBay flagged the purchase. The seller then provided FBI agents with details about the deal and the Postal Service seized the package.
According to the affidavit, FBI has been aware of Al-Azhari since at least May 2019.
On May 1, Al-Azhari was arrested for carrying a concealed firearm after allegedly making threats to harm his colleagues at Home Depot.
Prior to his arrest of the state charge, FBI agents interviewed some of his co-workers at the home improvement store, who expressed concern about statements that the suspect had made concerning Islam, guns and violence.
A supervisor told agents that when speaking about the September 11 attacks, Al-Azhari had said that he believed that Americans got what they deserved that day, according to the affidavit.
The same supervisors also allegedly overheard Al-Azhari speaking to other co-workers about jihad, saying that it involved ‘defending Islam.’
Another colleague at the Home Depot had reported Al-Azhari to corporate security, claiming that he tried to convince his co-workers to convert to Islam, and that he ‘spoke negatively and passionately about the United States and homosexuality.’
Al-Azhari was arrested on Sunday and was being held in the Pinellas County jail at the request of federal agents.