A Long Island man was arrested yesterday, and will appear in court this afternoon, on charges that he twice traveled to the Middle East in an attempt to join ISIS, according to a press release from the United States Attorney's Office.
According to a criminal complaint unsealed in criminal court today, 26-year-old Elvis Redzepagic of Commack has been charged with "attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the al-Nusrah Front." Both organizations have been designated as foreign terrorist organizations by the U.S. State Department.
The government alleges that on two different occassions, Redzepagic traveled to the Middle East in an attempt to join up with the terrorist groups. In the first instance, the government alleges that Redzepagic "communicated with an individual he believed to be the commander of a battalion in Syria and a member of ISIS or the al-Nusrah Front" and in July 2015 attempted to cross into Syria from Turkey to join the individual in combat. Failing to get into Syria from Turkey, Redzepagic then allegedly attempted to enter Syria through Jordan in 2016, but was deported by Jordanian authorities.
The government claims that Redzepagic wrote on Facebook that “'jihad” is when 'you fight for the sake of God' and 'die for the sake of Allah,' and he explicitly stated that he traveled to Turkey to 'perform Jihad and join Jabhat Al-Nusra.'" Redzepagic also allegedly told law enforcement agents that when he attempted to travel from Turkey to Syria, he was ready to become a suicide bomber.
"This defendant made numerous attempts to travel to Syria to wage violent jihad. We will continue to track down and prosecute individuals like the defendant before they are able to become foreign fighters or harm the United States and its allies," U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said in the press release announcing the arrest.