A home health aide was arrested in New York City after allegedly trying to travel to Syria and join the Islamic State terrorist group, also known as ISIS.
Bronx resident Saddam Mohamed Raishani was arrested on June 21, according to a press release from the U.S. Justice Department. Raishani is charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization and faces up to 20 years in prison.
Raishani’s lawyer, Assistant Federal Defender Sabrina Shroff, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Raishani sought to travel to Syria to join ISIS and train with fighters there, according to authorities.
In preparation for his trip, he quit his job with an unnamed home health care provider. Raishani reasoned he could pose as a nurse to cross international borders without suspicion, authorities said.
But his plan was foiled after he revealed it to someone in January who turned out to be a law enforcement source. Raishani previously helped a friend shop for supplies and gave him money before that friend left New York and joined the terror group, according to a criminal complaint. Raishani also allegedly told the source he later regretted not having traveled with his friend to join ISIS.
Eventually, the informant introduced Raishani to an undercover detective, who pretended to be someone wanting to travel abroad to fight for ISIS. Raishani told the detective that he, too, wished to join the terror group, according to the complaint. However, Raishani had some indication that federal authorities were monitoring his activities, he told the source.
Raishani also allegedly accompanied the undercover detective to purchase clothing and boots intended to be worn during ISIS training.
Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) arrested Raishani at JFK Airport as he was getting ready to board a flight to Lisbon, Portugal, with the intention of traveling to Istanbul, Turkey, where he would allegedly meet an ISIS member.
“Raishani allegedly acted on his own desire to wage violent jihad, planning to leave his family and life in New York City for the battlefields of the Middle East,” the release said.
Written by Tim Regan