(Reuters) - A Florida man was convicted on Tuesday of plotting to set off a bomb at a public beach in an act that prosecutors said was inspired by the militant group Islamic State.

Harlem Suarez, 25, was found guilty at trial of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and providing material support to terrorists. He faces up to life in prison at his sentencing.

Federal agents employed a paid informant to communicate with Suarez after he promoted Islamic State on Facebook, according to court documents. Suarez decided he wanted to build a nail-filled bomb that he would bury at a beach in Key West and detonate remotely, prosecutors said.

He gave the informant components, including nails, and was arrested after he took possession of what he believed was an explosive device from the informant in July 2015, authorities said.


His defense lawyer argued that he was goaded into the plot by the informant, and Suarez took the stand to tell jurors he was merely playing along, according to local media reports. The Cuban-born Suarez came to the United States as a young boy with his family.

U.S. prosecutors have charged more than 100 individuals since 2013 with Islamic State-related crimes.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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