FBI: Florida man scouted terror targets and attack weapons

By CURT ANDERSON AP Legal Affairs Writer
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man is charged with providing material support to the Islamic State extremist group, including attempting to buy multiple weapons and scouting potential targets for an attack in the Tampa Bay area. A criminal complaint Wednesday charges 23-year-old Muhammed Momtaz Al-Azhari with attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization. The charge carries a potential 20-year prison term. An FBI affidavit says that Al-Azhari was recorded as expressing admiration for Omar Mateen, the deceased shooter at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub in 2016. A public defender for Al-Azhari said the government’s charges in the case unfairly attempt to portray the U.S. citizen as a terrorist.