Man, 19, charged for allegedly making threat against UH during Zoom lecture

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A 19-year-old man from Richmond is accused of making a bomb threat against the University of Houston during a Zoom lecture, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

Ibraheem Ahmed Al Bayati is charged with making threats or conveying false information to destroy by means of fire or explosives and making a threat over interstate commerce.

Al Bayati was taken into custody by federal authorities on September 4.

According to the charges, Al Bayati allegedly identified himself as Abu Qital al Jihadi al Mansur and joined a UH student lecture via Zoom on September 2. He allegedly interrupted and said “what does any of this have to do with the fact that UH is about to get bombed in a few days?”

According to the criminal complaint, he allegedly uttered an Arabic a phrase that means the “Islamic State will remain” and then held up his index finger and repeated the phrase. He left the call to the gasps of students, according to the charges.

The criminal complaint alleges Al Bayati’s discussion about the “Islamic State” is a reference to a certain foreign terrorist organization also known as ISIS – Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Al Bayati is also accused of seeking out ISIS supporters online, helping an individual make a “pledge” and, according to Al Bayati, was known as an ISIS recruiter.  

If convicted of making threats or conveying false information to destroy by means of fire or explosives, Al Bayati faces up to 10 years in federal prison in addition to a maximum of five years for making a threat over interstate commerce.

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force conducted the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alamdar Hamdani and Steven Schammel of the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Trial Attorney Michael Dittoe in the Department of Justice’s counterterrorism section.