University student threatens to shoot up graduation ceremony

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After threatening to bring a gun to graduation exercises at the University of Iowa (UI), student Soliman Obaid B. Altamimi, 25, was charged Friday with threatening terrorism and third-degree harassment.

According to police complaints, Altamimi approached the university’s International Programs office at the University Capitol Centre around 11:30 a.m. on Friday, asking to speak at the graduation ceremony. When his request was denied, Altamimi replied that he would “bring a gun to the final ceremony.”

Altamimi made a similar threat in November of last year when he claimed that he would bring a gun to the International Programs office and shoot international students, according to police reports, but was not charged with any crime at the time.

UI officials stated in an email that campus police (UIPD) received a report in November from another student who expressed concerns about Altamimi’s statements. “Those concerns were taken seriously and UIPD followed up with Mr. Altamimi at that time,” said university spokesperson Tricia Brown.

Because of new gun laws signed by Iowa governor Terry Branstad last month, firearms permit holders now enjoy confidentiality, making it impossible to know whether or not the student was registered to own or carry a gun.

Altamimi is currently enrolled at the university as a non-degree-seeking student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

UI officials said the university “is committed to providing a safe environment for its students and their families… and encourages students and their families to attend and enjoy spring commencement ceremonies,” according to Brown.

Currently detained in the Johnson County Jail on a $12,000 bond, Altamimi could face up to five years in prison due to the threat of terrorism charge which is a classified as a felony.

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