Pope Francis
Pope Francis waves from the popemobile during a parade in Philadelphia in September 2015 Reuters

An American teenager has admitted to an Islamic State-inspired plot to assassinate Pope Francis during a visit to the United States.

Santos Colon Junior, 17, attempted to acquire a sniper rifle to shoot the Pope while he was carrying out a Papal Mass in Philadelphia in September 2015.

Colon, a New Jersey native and a US citizen, also planned to set off a number of explosives during the attack, according to documents filed by the Justice Department.

He planned the attack in the two months before the visit and met with a man he believed would be the sniper.

However, Colon had been the target of FBI reconnaissance and when he went to meet the would-be assassin, he was instead met with an undercover agent. He was arrested shortly after.

At a hearing in Camden federal court in New Jersey on Monday (3 April), Colon pleaded guilty to one charge of attempting to provide material support to terrorists.

He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 (£200,160), however a statement from the Justice Department confirmed sentencing would take into consideration his age and other statutory matters. No date has been set for sentencing at this stage.

Isis first started making threats against the Pope as early as 2014, however he has not been cowed by such threats and has continued to make regular trips across the world.