An Arab Israeli woman living in the United States pleaded guilty on Tuesday to assisting in the planning of attacks on behalf of the Islamic State terror group.
Forty-six-year-old Waheba Issa Dais, a Jerusalem native currently living in Cudahy, Wisconsin, was charged last year with attempting to provide material support to IS. Officials said she coached potential attackers on how to cook up ricin and kept a library of books on making bombs, poisons and suicide vests.
Dais, a legal US resident since 1992, signed a plea deal admitting she tried to help the potential attackers poison water sources and carry out terror attacks at crowded festivals.
As part of her agreement with prosecutors, she pleaded guilty to one count of providing material support for terrorists instead of the two counts with which she had initially been charged.
The mother of six faces up to 20 years in prison with sentencing scheduled for September 12, Fox News reported.
In a statement responding to the plea deal, Wisconsin’s Eastern District US Attorney Matthew Krueger said “these cases demonstrate the continuing and evolving terrorism threat posed by foreign terrorism organizations.”
Dais had been the first person in six months to be arrested on charges of supporting a violent jihadist group.
She used a number of social media accounts, including accounts hijacked from others, to promote the Islamic State group and facilitate recruitment, according to an indictment.
“According to admissions made in connection with her plea, Dais used hacked Facebook accounts in order to support ISIS. Using these accounts, she pledged her allegiance to ISIS on numerous occasions, communicated with and encouraged other ISIS supporters who described their plans to conduct attacks, disseminated information about explosives and biological weapons, and attempted to recruit new members to ISIS’s cause,” the US Justice Department said.
“For example, Dais posted videos providing step-by-step instructions on how to make an explosive belt and TNT, and she provided a detailed recipe for the poison Ricin. Dais also maintained encrypted social-media channels, where she posted messages encouraging ISIS supporters who could not travel to ISIS-controlled lands to conduct terrorist attacks in their home countries. Through those encrypted channels, she also provided detailed information about explosives, guns, attack planning, and target selection.”
It added: “Dais faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, a maximum life term of supervised release, and a maximum fine of $250,000. Her sentencing is set for Sept. 12, 2019.”
Dais maintained “a virtual library of instructions on how to make bombs, biological weapons, poisons and suicide vests” to assist Islamic State supporters in plotting attacks, according to the indictment.
She encouraged one person, apparently a law enforcement informant, to make the poison ricin and “suggested the individual introduce the ricin to a government post of water reservoirs,” it said. Dais also suggested targets for bomb attacks including street festivals and other summer celebrations.