COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A man from Ohio has been charged with attempting to fly to Afghanistan to train with ISIS.
According to the Department of Justice, Naser Almadaoji, 19, an Iraqi-born U.S. citizen living in Beavercreek, was arrested Wednesday at John Glenn International Airport.
Officials allege Almadaoji planned to travel through Kazakhstan on his way to Afghanistan, where he intended to train with ISIS Wilayat Khorasan.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Almadaoji purchased a plane ticket for travel on October 24, 2018.
It is alleged that Almadaoji intended to travel to Astana, Kazahkstan, where he planned to be smuggled into Afghanistan so that he could receive military training from ISIS Wilayat Khorasan in support of the terrorist group, or another ISIS affiliate.
Almadaoji explained to an individual whom he believed to be in contact with ISIS that he wanted “weapons experts training, planning, executing, hit and run, capturing high value targets, ways to break into homes and avoid security guards. That type of training.”
It is alleged that in September and October 2018, Almadaoji began making travel plans to Kazakhstan.
Prior to that, between February 16 and 24, 2018, Almadaoji traveled to Egypt and Jordan for the purpose of joining a terrorist group, according to Department of Justice officials.
In August 2018, Almadaoji allegedly communicated online with an individual he believed to be an ISIS contact; Almadaoji allegedly implied to that individual that he tried to join a terrorist group when in Jordan and Egypt, stating “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.”
It also is alleged that, in August 2018, Almadaoji told a second individual online—whom Almadaoji believed to be associated with ISIS—that he was “always willing” to assist with “projects” in the United States.
According to the affidavit, Almadaoji pledged allegiance to ISIS and discussed with his second contact that he planned to start a conflict between the United States Government and anti-government militias. Almadaoji allegedly recorded and sent a video of himself wearing a headscarf and pledging allegiance to the leader of ISIS.
It is further alleged that Almadaoji translated ISIS propaganda from Arabic to English, and he told his contact—whom Almadaoji believed to be part of ISIS—“Don’t thank me . . . it’s my duty.”
Assistant Attorney General Demers and U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FBI.
“This is the third individual arrested by the FBI on terrorism charges in just over a week. As demonstrated by these arrests – two in Ohio and one in Illinois – the threat posed by terrorism remains extremely serious,” said Assistant Director Michael McGarrity of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. “The FBI is working with our law enforcement partners day and night through our Joint Terrorism Task Forces across the nation to identify terrorists and those who support them. The American public also has an important role to play, and we urge anyone who sees something suspicious to contact law enforcement. Your tips are vitally important to protecting our country.”
Attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization is a federal crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison.