Pros­e­cu­tors say man aimed to fight for ji­had

The Washington Post Sunday - - POLITICS & THE NATION -

A New York man re­peat­edly trav­eled to the Mid­dle East to try to join the Is­lamic State or an­other ex­trem­ist group in Syria and told au­thor­i­ties he had been pre­pared to strap on a bomb to sac­ri­fice him­self for ji­had, U.S. pros­e­cu­tors said Satur­day.

Af­ter po­lice on sub­ur­ban Long Is­land ar­rested Elvis Redzepagic on Feb. 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 Satur­day.

The 26-year-old U.S. cit­i­zen was be­ing held with­out bail af­ter ap­pear­ing in a Brook­lyn fed­eral court Satur­day. He’s charged with at­tempt­ing to pro­vide ma­te­rial sup­port to a for­eign ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion.

His lawyer, Mil­dred Whalen, noted Redzepagic had co­op­er­ated with law en­force­ment.

Redzepagic “was per­sis­tent in his ef­forts” to join Is­lamist mil­i­tants in 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.

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