A high school student from Brownsburg, Indiana, has been arrested and charged with attempting to give aid to the Islamic State (ISIS) and planning to flee the U.S. to join ISIS on the battlefields of Syria.
According to Fox News, the FBI announced the apprehension of 18-year-old Akram Musleh after he booked a bus trip from Indianapolis to New York, where he allegedly planned to embark on a journey to Morocco to join ISIS forces.
Officials say Musleh first came to their attention in 2013 when he began posting pro-ISIS videos to his Youtube account, including one where he stood in front of an ISIS flag he purchased on the Internet.
The FBI says its investigation found that a close family member introduced the teen to a series of ISIS videos, and the videos sparked the boy’s interest in the terror outfit.
Brownsburg police also investigated the teen in 2015 when they were alerted to an incident at a local park, where it was alleged Musleh was asking people to join him in support of Daesh, another name for ISIS.
Th FBI investigation discovered that Musleh had purchased several one-way tickets for travel. In April of last year, the teen tried to buy a flight from Chicago to Erbil, Iraq, but never took the flight.
Then in May, he purchased another one-way ticket from Chicago to Istanbul, Turkey, but the credit card he was using was declined.
By June of last year, he was purchasing several more one-way flights and actually showed for one of them. It was then he was interviewed by authorities. He was told his passport was set to expire soon, so he could not travel until he renewed the papers. But the investigation was well underway.
Over the next year, the FBI tracked the teen’s online activity and sent an undercover operative to learn more of his desires to join ISIS. At that time, Musleh told the operative he had pledged allegiance to ISIS.
The teen was finally arrested on June 1 of this year after a long investigation into his actions.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence issued a statement on the arrest, praising the FBI for the arrest:
We commend the FBI and law enforcement officers at every level in this state for the efforts that led to the apprehension of a radicalized Brownsburg teenager who was attempting to join terrorist forces in the Middle East. The apprehension of this suspect is an example of collaboration at the highest level of law enforcement and because of these actions, there is no doubt that Indiana is a safer place.
While every Hoosier should draw comfort from this successful effort by our law enforcement community, we must not lose sight of that fact that, in light of the most recent terrorist attacks in Orlando and San Bernardino, no community is immune from this new threat. In these challenging times, it is essential that all Hoosiers exercise vigilance and report any suspicious activities to the appropriate law enforcement authorities. In short, if you see something say something.
Musleh is far from the only ISIS supporter arrested as a result of investigations here in the U.S.
A recent article by the New York Post reveals that at least 103 ISIS supporters have been arrested in the U.S. There are likely far more ongoing investigations about which authorities are not at liberty to discuss.
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