USA: A 19-year-old Ohio man has been arrested and charged with attempting to provide material support for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Justice Department said Thursday.
Naser Almadaoji, a U.S. citizen born in Iraq, was arrested Wednesday and accused of attempting to travel to Kazakhstan and then Afghanistan, where he planned to fight for ISIS-aligned forces in the region, according to a Justice Department press release.
“Naser Almadaoji allegedly attempted to seek terrorist training in weapons and tactics and discussed a willingness to conduct terrorist ‘projects’ in the United States on behalf of foreign terrorist groups,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said in the release.
“Protecting America from terrorist activity, including conduct like this, remains the highest priority of the Department of Justice.”
The arrest on terror-related charges is the third in just over a week, according to assistant FBI Director Michael Garrity, who added in the release that “the threat posed by terrorism remains extremely serious.”
Almadaoji traveled to Egypt and Jordan in February of this year, after which he reportedly began conversing online with someone he believed to be an ISIS recruiter.
He eventually sent the unnamed person a video of himself pledging allegiance to ISIS.
The online attempts followed a failed attempt to join a terrorist organization while abroad, the release states.
“I don’t wanna say here why I was in Egypt but him [an Egyptian associate] and I planned something and it didn’t work at [sic] well,” Almadaoji reportedly told the unnamed individual he believed to be an ISIS contact.
If convicted, Almadaoji could be sentenced to up to 20 years in federal prison. A defense attorney representing the 19-year-old told local news affiliate WHIO 7 that he and his client plan to “vigorously defend his case,” while not specifically indicating a plea.