A Pakistani doctor who worked as a research coordinator at a medical clinic in Rochester, Minnesota was arrested with charges of attempting to provide material support to the terrorist organization, the Islamic State group.
The FBI arrested Muhammad Masood at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday, while attempting to meet an individual who he thought would assist him with travel to ISIS territory. The doctor had originally planned to go to Los Angeles, en route, to the Middle East by a cargo ship.
The Post Bulletin said that the FBI had been investigating Masood since January, after he had allegedly contacted a “confidential human source” through an encrypted social media platform. Masood had supposedly wanted to “fight on the frontline” and asked for help making “hijrah”, the Arabic word for migration, used frequently amongst those who want to join ISIS.
According to The New York Times, Masood had met with undercover informants from the FBI, whom he believed were ISIS commanders located overseas. Two days later, Masood allegedly bought a plane ticket from Chicago to Amman, Jordan from where he planned to travel to Syria.
However, U.S. officials later said Masood’s plans were jeopardized with the coronavirus outbreak cancelling his flight.
Masood had entered the U.S. in February 2018 under an H-1B visa, according to Voice of America. Masood explained that he had been radicalized by lectures from a Yemini American cleric and recruiter for al-Qaida, Anwar al-Awlaki.
Since his arrest, Masood has been in custody and is awaiting a formal detention hearing scheduled for Tuesday, March 24.
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