Man accused of making Zoom lecture bomb threat free on bond

8 months 5 hours 2 minutes ago Monday, September 14 2020 Sep 14, 2020 September 14, 2020 11:09 AM September 14, 2020 in News - AP Texas Headlines

HOUSTON (AP) — A man accused of making a bomb threat against the University of Houston during a Zoom lecture was released on bond Wednesday.

A federal magistrate judge set bond at $200,000 for Ibraheem Ahmed Al Bayati at a Wednesday detention hearing in federal court in Houston. The judge also ordered Al Bayati placed on home confinement with a GPS monitor, and his use of a computer is restricted and monitored.

Al Bayati’s attorney, David Adler of Houston, declined to comment on the case.

Al Bayati, 19, was accused by federal authorities of joining a university lecture on Zoom on Sept. 2 and interrupting it by saying “what does any of this have to do with the fact that UH is about to get bombed in a few days?”

Al Bayati, who identified himself as Abu Qital al Jihadi al Mansur on the call, was also accused of uttering an Arabic a phrase that means the “Islamic State will remain,” according to a criminal complaint. Investigators allege his discussion about the “Islamic State” was a reference to the terrorist organization.

After Al Bayati repeated the phrase, he left the call to the gasps of students, according to the criminal complaint.

Al Bayati, a U.S. citizen who lives in Richmond, situated about 30 miles (48.28 kilometers) southwest of Houston, was arrested on Friday. He told investigators the incident was a joke devised by him and a friend, according to the complaint.

Authorities also accuse Al Bayati of being a recruiter for the Islamic State.

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

If convicted, Al Bayati faces up to 10 years in prison.

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