A U.S. man has been arrested in the Pacific island state of Hawaii, after investigators claim he tried to join the U.S. military so he could deploy to Iraq in order to join Iraqi insurgent forces fighting against American troops.
A U.S. Justice Department statement says 21-year-old Abdel Hameed Shehadeh was arrested Friday in Honolulu, and will be sent to New York to face charges of lying to investigators.
A criminal complaint against Shehadeh says, in 2008, he devised a plan to travel to Pakistan to join the Taliban or similar fighting groups. He flew to Islamabad on a one-way flight, but was denied entry by Pakistani authorities.
According to the complaint, Shehadeh tried several weeks later to sign up with the U.S. military at a recruitment center in Times Square, New York. His application was denied when it was discovered he concealed his prior trip to Pakistan.
The complaint says Shehadeh repeatedly told investigators that he had no intention of joining militant groups abroad.
New York City Police Department detectives also tracked Shehadeh's activities online, finding that he had created and maintained several websites that included video postings of Osama Bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders.
According to the complaint, witnesses told investigators about Shehadeh's intentions to fight with Islamist militants in Pakistan, and against U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
The complaint says Shehadeh also tried flying to Jordan, but was denied entry in that country. When he tried later to fly to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, he was informed that he had been placed on a "No Fly" list.
Then, in April 2010, the complaint says federal agents told Shehadeh he could be removed from the No Fly list if he provided information, leading them to believe, falsely, that he was an informant. The complaint says he stated that his mindset, in 2008 when he was trying to get to Pakistan and Iraq, was "to do whatever was necessary to drive the United States out of Muslim lands." If convicted of making false statements in a matter involving international terrorism, Shehadeh could face up to eight years in prison.