FBI: Brooklyn man tried to join Islamic State group for NYC attack

A Brooklyn man was arrested on suspicion of trying to join the Islamic State group to take part in a terror attack in New York City.



The FBI says Mohamed Rafik Naji last year traveled to Turkey and Yemen to join the terror group.



According to the 19-page criminal complaint from the Justice Department, Naji wanted to conduct an attack in Times Square analogous to the attack in Nice, France, in which more than 80 people were killed when a man drove a truck into a crowd of revelers. That attack was claimed by the Islamic State group.



Documents state the 37-year-old Naji intentionally tried to provide the Islamic State group with materials including personnel. His support was also apparently discovered on social media. Investigators say Naji supported the Islamic State group on Facebook, as he used a profile picture showing a man carrying guns and walking toward an Islamic State flag superimposed across the sky. There was also a cover photo that investigators say represented a choice between two paths: the Islamic State group or the rest of the world.



Naji also allegedly accessed YouTube videos depicting Islamic State fighters in combat and another video calling for an attack on Western civilization. The investigation found emails dating to March 2015, when Naji allegedly wrote to his girlfriend, saying how he was trying to join the Islamic State group.



Gov. Andrew Cuomo has condemned the suspect.



"The arrest of Mohamed Rafik Naji on charges he provided material support to ISIL is a sharp reminder of the evolving threat of global terrorism," the governor says in a statement. "New York must remain vigilant in the face of hate and intolerance and continue to advance the core values of democracy that this state and nation were founded upon. While we do not have any specific threat at this time, public safety is paramount."


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