Washington, May 24 (EFE).- An Iraqi man was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly planning to assassinate former US President George W. Bush to take revenge for the suffering caused in Iraq by the US invasion in 2003.
According to a statement released by the Department of Justice, Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab – a 52-year-old resident of Columbus, Ohio – was arrested on Tuesday by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and taken into federal court where he was charged with one immigration crime and with being involved in a plot to kill Bush.
According to the charges filed against him, Shihab has been living in the US on a visitor visa since September 2020 and applied for asylum in March 2021, although that application is pending.
He was charged with attempting to illegally bring an individual into the US, a federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison, as well as with aiding and abetting the attempted murder of a former US official, for which he may face up to 20 years behind bars.
Shihab allegedly traveled to Dallas, Texas, in February 2022 to scout out locations linked to Bush – including his home in that city and his ranch in Crawford, Texas – and a month later he met with accomplices in a Columbus, Ohio, hotel room to “look at sample firearms and law enforcement uniforms.”
During the time he has been in this country, Shihab has lived in Columbus and in Indianapolis, working in grocery stores and restaurants.
The court documents indicate that he also tried to bring four other Iraqis into the US to help him carry out the assassination.
Specifically, in August 2021, he allegedly tried to smuggle into the country a man who he thought was Iraqi but who was really an FBI informant, in exchange for $40,000.
The court documents add that Shihab and his four accomplices intended to flee to Mexico after killing Bush.
Before making the accusation public, Forbes magazine had revealed that the FBI had investigated Shihab for the plot and said that the agency had been tracking the Iraqi thanks to information provided by two informants as well as monitoring his WhatsApp account.
Forbes, which received access to the FBI arrest warrant, said that Shihab could be linked to the Islamic State terrorist group.
Former Bush cabinet chief Freddy Ford said in a written communique published by US media outlets that the former president “has all the confidence in the world in the United States Secret Service and our law enforcement and intelligence communities.”