A 28-year-old Virginia man who aimed to become a suicide bomber for ISIS in 2016 was sentenced to 20 years in prison Friday, the Justice Department announced.
Mohamad Jamal Khweis grew up in Old Dominion and graduated from Alexandria’s Thomas Edison High School, but that did not stop him from traveling to Turkey in December 2015 in a quest to join ISIS. He was apprehended by Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in March and convicted by a federal jury in June of providing material support to a terrorist organization.
“The evidence at trial demonstrated that Mohamad Khweis is an unpredictable and dangerous person who was radicalized towards violent jihad,” said Dana Boente, the acting assistant attorney general for national security and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Andrew Vale, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office, added that Khweis purposefully traveled overseas “with the intent to join ISIS in support of the terrorist group’s efforts to conduct operations and execute attacks to further their radical ideology.”
“I didn’t agree with their ideology,” Khweis claimed in an interview after surrendering to Kurdish forces, CBS News reported. “Our daily life was basically prayer, eating, and learning about the religion for about eight hours.”
Prosecutors said an ISIS intake form with his “name, age, skills, specialty before jihad, and status as a fighter” demonstrated otherwise, Fox News reported.