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Columbus man who plotted to assassinate George W. Bush sentenced to 15 years in prison

Former President George W. Bush tips his hat to the crowd before an NFL football game.
Julio Cortez
Former President George W. Bush tips his hat to the crowd before an NFL football game between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023, in Arlington, Texas.

A Judge sentenced an Iraqi citizen living in Columbus since 2020 to more than 14 years in prison for plotting to help a terrorist organization assassinate former President George W. Bush in 2022.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Watson sentenced Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, 53, on Monday. In addition to the 178 months, Shihab was also sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release following his prison sentence.

A press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Southern District of Ohio said Shibab moved to Columbus in 2020 and tried to smuggle in four people associated with the Islamic State terrorist organization. The FBI conducted a sting operation by having Shibab interact with a fictitious person who he thought he successfully smuggled into the country.

The press release said Shibab believed the former president was responsible for killing many Iraqis and breaking apart the entire country of Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"The defendant’s own life changed during and after the war and he proudly assisted in this plot," the press release said.

The press release said Shibab traveled to Dallas in February 2022 to conduct surveillance of locations associated with the former president. including the front access gate and surrounding area leading into Bush's neighborhood.

The press release said Shibab met with people in a hotel room in Columbus in 2022 to look at sample firearms and law enforcement uniforms and he required the use of burner phones, encrypted communication applications and code names as plans evolved.

Shibab was arrested by the FBI in May 2022 and pleaded guilty to the charges last year.

George Shillcock is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. He joined the WOSU newsroom in April 2023 following three years as a reporter in Iowa with the USA Today Network.