ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The 25-year-old man who was charged in federal court with plotting an Islamist-inspired attack in Florida also recorded several videos of his views and posted them online.
The videos featuring Sami Osmakec are circulating online since his arrest Monday. Authorities say Osmakec was plotting to attack Tampa-area nightclubs and a sheriff's office with bombs and an assault rifle to avenge wrongs done to Muslims.
In the videos, Osmakec rails against Christians, Jews and Western living. The videos appear to have been filmed around downtown Tampa.
A spokesman from the Tampa office from the Council on American-Islamic Relations said Monday that Osmakec did not appear to know much about the Koran's teaching. CAIR and federal authorities say the area's Muslim community helped law enforcement with information about Osmakec's militant views.
Meanwhile, Osmakec came from a "very good family" that moved from place to place in search of economic opportunity and respite from conflict in the former Yugoslavia, an aunt said Tuesday.
The allegations against her nephew have left her in shock and disbelief, the aunt told The Associated Press in an interview.
"It felt very strange to hear what he was being accused of," Time Osmankaj said. "I don't believe he did what they accuse him of doing. There was no better kid around here."
U.S. officials are using a different spelling for his last name Osmakac than what his relatives use here in Kosovo.
Osmakac's aunt lives in a two-story house in a remote hillside in Kosovo's southwest bordering Albania. She said her nephew's family left the secluded hamlet of Lubizde in the early 1990s for Bosnia where Sami's father ran a bakery. Kosovo was then part of the now defunct Yugoslavia.
The family was caught in the whirlwind of Yugoslavia's violent breakup during the 1990's. They moved initially to Germany and then to the United States. The Lubizde area was hard hit during the 1998-99 Kosovo war, when ethnic Albanians fought a separatist war against Serbia that ended with U.S.-led military intervention in Kosovo.
Over the years, Sami Osmakac's family "helped us a lot and frequently sent money," the aunt said, nervously clutching her robe as her daughter looked on. "We had no idea that he had any troubles or anything like that."
She added that Sami Osmakac was last in Kosovo in October 2011, but that she learned of his visit from neighbors and that he did not contact her or other relatives.
Osmakac was arrested Saturday the day officials said he was planning his attack after he allegedly bought explosive devices and firearms from an undercover agent. The firearms and explosives were disabled before the sale.
A police official in Kosovo told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Osmakac was "known to Kosovo authorities" and that "security agents were aware of his whereabouts during his last visit in Kosovo."
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. He declined to disclose other details, including whether authorities tracked Osmakac at the request of the United States. He also did not specify when Osmakac was last spotted in Kosovo.