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Skyscraper bomb plot foiled by FBI arrest of Italy man

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CHARLES D. HATFIELD JR.

The Ellis County Press

DALLAS – A 19-year-old Italy resident was arrested by federal authorities after he attempted to blow up a prominent downtown Dallas skyscraper last Thursday. Italy, a town of 2,000 located south of Waxahachie, was home to the Jordanian born Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, who worked at a Shell gas station on Interstate Highway 35 and lived in a Monolithic dome house in town.

Smadi was arrested in a sting operation when the phony bombs the Federal Bureau of Investigations provided to him to detonate failed to go off.

FBI agents, in widely reported news accounts, monitored Smadi for several months after he was seen in online Web sites favoring Islamic holy war against America.

The downtown Dallas building Smadi was alleged to have plotted to blow up was the 60-story blue-glass covered Fountain Place skyscraper, which played prominently in the 1980s TV show Dallas.

Officials said he was planning a Jihad against the United States and Jews by blowing-up the I.M. Pei-designed skyscraper, located on Ross Avenue. "The highest priority of the FBI and the Department of Justice remains the prevention of another terrorist attack within the United States," said U.S. Attorney Jacks in a news release.

"In that effort, it is the job of the FBI to locate and identify individuals intent upon carrying out any type of attack upon this country and its citizens/residents," said Jacks.

"Whether as part of a group or acting alone, persons contemplating such acts need to know that all components of the government are working together to ferret out their activities and to insure that such individuals face the full measure of the law.

"The identification and apprehension of this defendant, who was acting alone, is a sobering reminder that there are people among us who want to do us grave harm."

Smadi, according to Italy and Waxahachie residents, worked at the Shell station owned by Ali Sharaf, who owns Victron Energy and runs dozens of gas stations in Ellis County and southern Dallas County.

Sharaf, has been a prominent backer of local Republican politicians, including former Ellis County Judge Chad Adams, who now serves as Victrons vice president.

Witnesses from Italy also reported Smadi drove a Doves Nest Restaurant catering van to and from work.

Andrew Birch, owner of the popular Doves Nest in downtown Waxahachie, could not be reached for comment.

However, city officials in Italy reported Sharaf selling or transferring ownership of the Shell station to Birch recently to prepare for a beer and wine local option election in November.

Smadi also reportedly worked at the Sonic that is attached to the Shell station.


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