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Pakistani doctor trying to join ISIS arrested in US

A Pakistani doctor was arrested at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) on Thursday for planning to join terrorist organisation ISIS and conduct lone wolf terror attacks in the US. According to the Department of Justice, he earlier expressed his desire to go to Syria and fight for the dreaded terrorist group.

Dr Muhammad Masood was at the airport to board a flight to Los Angeles where he was going to meet a person who could possibly help him travel via cargo ship to ISIS territory in Syria. He had travelled from Rochester to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) to board the flight.

"Upon arrival at MSP, Masood checked in for his flight and was subsequently arrested by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force," the US Department of Justice stated.

According to the allegations in the complaint, Masood, a licensed medical doctor in Pakistan, was formerly employed as a research coordinator for a medical clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, under an H-1B Visa.

Earlier, the 28-year-old doctor booked flight tickets from Chicago, Illinois to Amman, Jordan, and from there he planned to travel to Syria. His plan to travel to Syria from Jordan was jeopardised because Jordan closed its borders to incoming travel due to outbreak of coronavirus. Masood made a new plan to fly from Minneapolis to Los Angeles to meet up with an individual who he believed would assist him with travel via cargo ship to deliver him to ISIS territory

Masood made his initial appearance before Magistrate Judge David T. Schultz in US District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Department said Masood was ordered to remain in custody pending a formal detention hearing, which is scheduled for Tuesday, March 24.

"Between January 2020 and March 2020, Masood made several statements to others, including pledging his allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) and its leader, and expressing his desire to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS. Masood also expressed his desire to conduct lone wolf terrorist attacks in the United States," the Department said.

"Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers and US Attorney Erica H. MacDonald for the District of Minnesota announced a federal criminal complaint against Muhammad Masood, 28, charging him with attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization," the Department said.

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