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New York Man Arrested For Attempting To Join ISIS

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A New York man was arrested by federal authorities for allegedly attempting to join ISIS in Syria.

Elvis Redzepagic, 26, was arrested in Commack, New York.

Redzepagic is accused of attempting to join the Nusra Front in Syria in 2015 and 2016, according to The New York Times.

"This defendant made numerous attempts to travel to Syria to wage violent jihad," said U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers. "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."

But Redzepagic's attorney said her client is mentally ill and needs treatment, not prison.

"Mr. Redzepagic is an American citizen who has been fully cooperative with the government's investigation," attorney Mildred Whalen told NBC New York. "We will work with Mr. Redzepagic's family to convince the court and the government that Mr. Redzepagic needs treatment and care, not imprisonment."

The complaint filed by the Department of Justice contends that Redzepagic was active in attempting to get in touch with ISIS officials and even traveled to the Middle East to do so.

"Over the last two years, Redzepagic twice traveled to the Middle East to attempt to join a foreign terrorist organization," the DOJ complaint read. "Specifically, in 2015, Redzepagic communicated with an individual he believed to be the commander of a battalion in Syria and a member of ISIS or the [Nusra] Front and made attempts to join him to engage in violent jihad. In July 2015, Redzepagic traveled to Turkey and made multiple attempts to cross the border into Syria to join his associate’s organization."

The report continued: "Unable to enter Syria from Turkey, Redzepagic traveled to Jordan in August 2016, but was stopped and deported by Jordanian authorities."

DOJ officials also looked used Redzepagic's Facebook activity as part of the case against him.

"In Facebook messages from October 2015, Redzepagic explained that 'jihad' is when 'you fight for the sake of God' and 'die for the sake of Allah,'" the complaint read. "And he explicitly stated that he traveled to Turkey to 'perform Jihad and join Jabhat Al-Nusra.' In subsequent interviews with law enforcement, Redzepagic admitted that at the time he attempted to enter Syria from Turkey, he was prepared to strap a bomb to himself."

"Redzepagic, a U.S. citizen living in Long Island, made multiple attempts to join ISIS or [Nusra] Front in Syria where he wanted to engage in violent jihad, which could have resulted in the death of countless individuals," said New York Special Agent in Charge Angel Melendez of the New York Homeland Security Investigations office. "This arrest underscores the importance of cooperation between law enforcement agencies across the globe in identifying and bringing these extremists to justice before they are able to commit terrorist attacks."

Sources: The New York Times, Department of Justice / Photo credit: New York Daily News

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