NY man aimed to fight with Islamic extremists

2017-03-05 10:30


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New York - A New York man repeatedly travelled to the Middle East to try to join the Islamic State or another extremist group and later told authorities he'd been prepared to strap on a bomb to sacrifice himself for jihad, prosecutors said on Saturday.

And when police on suburban Long Island arrested Elvis Redzepagic on February 2 on a minor, unrelated charge, he told them: "I'm going to leave this country and I'm going to come back with an Army - Islam is coming," according to a federal court complaint unsealed on Saturday.

The 26-year-old US citizen was being held without bail after appearing in a Brooklyn federal court on Saturday. He's charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organisation.

Authorities have prosecuted a number of people accused of aiming to join the Islamic State group and other militants in recent years, though in some cases, the accused haven't actually succeeded in travelling overseas.

Through the woods

Redzepagic "was persistent in his efforts" to join Islamic militants in civil-war-ravaged Syria, making it to Turkey in 2015 and Jordan last year and even getting to the Syrian border, said William F Sweeney, assistant director in charge of the FBI's New York field office.

Redzepagic, who lives in Commack, told authorities after his arrest that he'd become a devout Muslim while in Montenegro, in the Balkans, and believed a cousin was a battalion commander in Syria for the Islamic State or the group once known as the Nusra Front, according to the court complaint. The latter group - now called the Fatah al-Sham Front and also known at times as Jabhat al-Nusra - is an al-Qaeda affiliate.

After telling his cousin he wanted to join him, Redzepagic went to Turkey in July 2015 and aimed for Syria, first getting cab rides to the border, then directions to a border wall manned by the military, then instructions to try to cross instead by making a two-day trip through the woods, the complaint says.

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  isis  |  us

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