Get more with myNEWS
A personalised news feed of stories that matter to you
Learn more
Former US president George W. Bush speaks during a 9/11 commemoration at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in September 2021. Photo: TNS

Iraqi man plotted trip to Texas to kill George W. Bush

  • Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, 52, wanted to assassinate the ex-president in retaliation for the Iraq War, US authorities say
  • He allegedly planned to smuggle more of his countrymen into America to aid in the scheme, and insinuated he had links to Islamic State

An Iraqi man who came to the United States two years ago and applied for asylum hatched a plot to assassinate former president George W. Bush in retaliation for casualties against his compatriots during the Iraq war, the government announced on Tuesday.

Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, 52, also schemed to smuggle other Iraqis into the US from Mexico to aid in the plot, after which they would be smuggled out back through Mexico, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Columbus.

Shihab insinuated he had contacts with the Islamic State group, but it did not appear the plot came close to materialising, with confidential informants briefing the FBI from April 2021 through this month, the complaint said.

Shihab was ordered held without bond by federal Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Preston Deavers during a short hearing in court on Tuesday. Deavers scheduled a detention hearing for Friday.

Shihab was not required to enter a plea. Soumyajit Dutta, a federal public defender representing Shihab at the hearing, declined to comment. If convicted, Shihab could face up to 30 years in prison and US$500,000 in fines.

A message was left with the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum seeking comment.

Shihab worked at restaurants in and around Columbus and also at a market in Indianapolis where he had an apartment, the government said.

Shihab told a confidential informant that he assisted in the killing of American soldiers during the Iraq War, and said he and others “wished to kill former president Bush because they felt that he was responsible for killing many Iraqis and breaking apart the entire country of Iraq”, the complaint said.

Bush makes gaffe, calls Iraq invasion ‘unjustified’ instead of Ukraine

Shihab travelled in February to Dallas, where he took video of the entrance gate to the neighbourhood where Bush lives, and also travelled to Detroit in November to investigate smuggling Iraqi nationals into the US, the government said.

Shihab met a confidential informant a Columbus hotel room in March to examine weapons and US border patrol uniforms, according to the complaint. +

Shihab allegedly planned to use a Columbus car dealership to help transfer money from an Islamic State official into the US.

Last fall, Shihab accepted thousands of dollars for what he thought was payment for him to smuggle another Iraqi citizen into the US, according to the complaint, but the transaction was entirely coordinated by the FBI.