- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 4, 2017

A 26-year-old Long Island resident was arrested at his residence in Commack, New York on Friday and charged with attempting to join the Islamic State and the Al Nusra Front, organizations both designated as foreign terrorist groups by the U.S. government.

Elvis Redzepagic is being held without bail following an initial court appearance in a Brooklyn federal court Saturday afternoon.

Justice Departent prosecutors allege Mr. Redzepagic, a U.S citizen, made numerous attempts beginning in 2015 to travel overseas in order to “engage in violent jihad,” according to an indictment unsealed hours earlier in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Mr. Redzepagic routinely communicated with a person he believed to be the commander of a battalion in Syria and a member of either the Al Nusra front of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, prosecutors claim, and made multiple efforts to join either terror group.

He traveled to Turkey in July 2015 and unsuccessfully attempted to cross its border with Syria, according to the indictment. He trekked to Jordan the following summer, prosecutors allege, but was stopped by local authorities and subsequently deported.

The foreign travel wasn’t what tipped authorities off, however. According to the indictment, investigators weren’t privy of his plans until Mr. Redzepagic was arrested in suburban Long Island last month on unrelated charges.

“I’m going to leave this country, and I’m going to come back with an Army —Islam is coming,” Mr. Redzepagic reportedly told police following his February 2 arrest. The comment caused law enforcement in Long Island to notify federal authorities, who in turn reached out to Mr. Redzepagic and arranged to speak with him further. He willingly agreed to an additional interview with federal investigators and surrendered access to his cell phone and social media accounts, the Associated Press reported Saturday, citing the complaint.

Investigators later reviewed Mr. Redzepagic’s online activity and discovered he had discussed his plans with the supposed battalion commander and various Facebook contacts.

“Since I got back from Turkey from trying to perform jihad and join Jabhat al-Nusra the CIA has been bothering me,” he allegedly wrote in an October 2015 Facebook message. “It’s annoying but I out smarted them.”

“There will come a time where people will only know to say Allahu akbar,” he wrote in another, according to prosecutors.

Mr. Redzepagic’s attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment, AP reported.

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