National Security

US Citizen Turned ISIS Fighter Pleads Guilty To Terror Charge

REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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A 23-year-old U.S. citizen pleaded guilty to a terror charge Wednesday after being captured in 2019, according to the Department of Justice.

Omer Kuzu “pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to provide material support to terrorism,” according to a DOJ statement.

Syrian Democratic Forces captured Kuzu in 2019 and the FBI sent him back to the U.S. “after a five-year stint handling communications for ISIS,” according to the statement. (RELATED: REPORT: US To Cut Troop Deployment In Iraq To 3,500, Lowest Number Since Rise Of ISIS)

Kuzu was indicted in early August, according to another Department of Justice statement.

“This defendant, an American citizen radicalized on American soil, pledged allegiance to a brutal terrorist group and traveled halfway across the world to enact its agenda,” United States Attorney Erin Nealy Cox for the Northern District of Texas said, according to the statement.

“The United States must do everything we can to prevent and deter this type of radicalization and prioritize prosecution of those that support the terroristic agenda of ISIS.  I am gratified Mr. Kuzu faced justice in an American court,” Nealy Cox continued, according to the statement.

Plea papers note that Kuzu said that he and his brother left for Istanbul from the U.S. in 2014, according to the statement. Both ended up in Mosul, Iraq and dispatched to Syria after their training.

Kuzu began to “work at the ISIS telecommunications directorate,” according to the statement. Kuzu also said in the plea papers that he knew ISIS was deemed a foreign terrorist organization and participated “in terrorist activities,” according to the statement.

He also said he pledged allegiance to now-dead “ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the Islamic Caliphate” afterwards, according to the statement. “He was given a monthly stipend, a Chinese-made AK 47, and an ISIS bride,” the statement said.

Kuzu went to Syria and worked “communications support for ISIS fighters on the front lines,” afterwards, according to the statement. He also “worked in the Caliphate’s technology center,” according to the statement.

The 23-year-old currently faces federal prison for a maximum of 20 years and his sentence is scheduled for Jan. 2021, according to the statement.

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