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September 15, 2015

Teen arrested in alleged plot against pope arrested in Philly area

A local teenager was arrested by the FBI outside of Philadelphia last month for allegedly threatening to attack Pope Francis during his tours in the United States next week, ABC News reported Tuesday.

The 15-year-old boy's assault plan was allegedly inspired by ISIS, according to a joint intelligence bulletin by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.

"The minor was inspired by [ISIS] and sought to conduct a detailed homeland attack which included multiple attackers, firearms, and multiple explosives, targeting a foreign dignitary at a high-profile event," the bulletin stated. "The minor obtained explosives instructions and further disseminated these instructions through social media."

The boy has been charged with attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization and attempting to provide material support to terrorist activity, the bulletin added.

However, sources emphasized that the minor's plans were "aspirational" and that his mental health is being questioned.

Law enforcement officials said Monday that there is no credible threat to the pope during his visit, despite the previous threats.

"The FBI is working closely with the United States Secret Service and our federal, state and local partners in advance of the papal visit to ensure the safety and security of all," a spokeswoman for the FBI's field office in Philadelphia said in a statement. 

The bulletin noted that the case demonstrates how some youth are vulnerable to messaging from ISIS and its supporters.