An Iraqi man living in Ohio plotted to kill former President George W. Bush by using four ISIS-linked assassins smuggled across the US border with Mexico, officials said Tuesday.
Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, 52, blamed Bush for launching the Iraq War in 2003 and “breaking apart the entire country,” according to court records unsealed after his arrest on Tuesday.
He claimed to be coordinating with a group in Qatar called “Al Raed” to bring in the assassins, all of whom are Iraq citizens and some who were allegedly described as intelligence officers in the country, records show.
The men, “very experienced in attacks and assassinations,” were to be smuggled back across the border into Mexico after they had done the job — if they survived, according to the records, first reported by Forbes.
“SHIHAB stated that these individuals do not care if they die during the mission or make it out of the US,” an affidavit in support of an application for the criminal complaint said.
Shihab was living in Columbus and Indianapolis mostly working in restaurants after he applied for asylum in the US in March 2021, the Department of Justice said in a news release. He had come to the country legally on a visitor visa in 2020, according to the DOJ.
He claimed to have gotten the visa through a corrupt Iraqi American contractor at the US Embassy, court records said. He also said he intended to marry an American woman to become a citizen and said he paid for fraudulent papers to show he had been divorced from his wife in Iraq, the affidavit said.
Shihab told two confidential sources, the feds say, that he’d killed many Americans as part of the resistance in Iraq from 2003-06, and said he had been imprisoned overseas by the US and others.
The accused even went to Dallas in February to conduct surveillance on Bush’s home and the George W. Bush Institute, records claimed.
Shihab allegedly visited a Columbus hotel a month later to look at sample weapons and a US border patrol uniform.
He had previously accepted payment as part of a $40,000 fee to help smuggle into the US a man he thought was a fellow Iraqi but was actually a person made-up as part of the FBI probe, the DOJ said.
The accused is facing up to 20 years behind bars for the attempted murder of a former US official and another 10 years on each charge of bringing someone into the country illegally, the DOJ said.