US man pleads guilty in ISIS-inspired plot to kill Pope

A teenager has admitted plotting to shoot Pope Francis when he visited Philadelphia in 2015.

A New Jersey teenager has admitted plotting to kill Pope Francis when he visited Philadelphia in 2015, federal prosecutors announced Monday.

Santos Colon Jr., 17, pleaded guilty as an adult to attempting to provide material support to terrorists. He faces up to 15 years in prison.

A sentencing date has not been scheduled.

Colon admitted plotting the assassination during a nearly two-month period in the weeks leading up to the pope’s visit in September 2015, federal prosecutors said. The plot, which wasn’t carried out, involved using a sniper to shoot the pope during Mass and setting off explosive devices nearby.

Colon engaged someone he thought would be the sniper, but was an undercover FBI employee, prosecutors said. He engaged in target reconnaissance with an FBI confidential source and instructed the source to buy materials to make explosive devices, they said.

FBI agents arrested Colon in 2015.

Prosecutors declined to comment on a plot motive or why the pope was targeted. They said the investigation is ongoing.

Court documents said Colon sought to carry out the act in support of the Islamic State group (ISIS) and that he had used the adopted name Ahmad Shakoor.

Court documents show the charges were related to ISIS, which the US has designated a foreign terrorist organization.

There were no details on how Colon became interested in the terror group and if or how he communicated with them.

The pope visited Philadelphia for events on September 26-27, 2015. He celebrated Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, where hundreds of thousands of people gathered.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff