The MUSLIM man, who has been identified as Mohammed Rafik Naji, 37, a legal US resident originally from Yemen, made several online posts in support of the Islamic State (ISIS). Naji was arrested this morning and charged in a federal court in Brooklyn.
NY Daily News An Uber cab driver from Brooklyn, who is a citizen of Yemen, was arrested Monday on federal charges that he allegedly traveled to Turkey and Yemen last year to join ISIS and expressed support for a Nice-style attack with a garbage truck in Times Square, authorities said.
“I was saying if there is a truck, I mean a garbage truck and one drives it there to Times Square and crushes them…” the complaint quotes Naji as saying to a FBI informant during a recorded phone conversation in July, NBC reported.
Mohamed Rafik Naji, 37, revealed his support of the terrorist organization on his Facebook page, including a photo of an ISIS flag, videos of jihadists engaged in fighting, and a YouTube link of an ISIS spokesman exhorting attacks on Western targets, according to court papers.
Last summer, Naji allegedly expressed support to an informant for carrying out a deadly attack in Times Square with a garbage truck crushing pedestrian just like the ISIS truck attack in Nice, France in July.
“They (ISIS) want an operation in Times Square,” Naji told the informant on July 19. “The Islamic State already put up scenes of Times Square … I said that was an indication for whoever is smart to know.”
Previously, Naji had been persistent in his efforts to join ISIS, Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers pointed out. Naji apparently made it to the ISIS battlefield in his Yemeni homeland. “As we alleged in our complaint today, Naji has shown continued support to ISIS, beginning in 2014 with social media posts and ultimately traveling to Yemen in March 2015 where he claimed his allegiance to ISIS stating, ‘I belong to Islamic state only.’
He allegedly emailed his wife from Yemen in March 2015 that “it’s very hard to get in I’m on my 5th try … keep trying if not m have to go from somewhere else.”
Naji sent the wife another email from Yemen on April 21, 2015 with the subject line, “First day on the job,” and a video attached in which gunfire could be heard, according to the complaint unsealed in Brooklyn Federal Court. The unidentified wife was also wiring thousands of dollars to Naji to support his adventure.
He is charged with attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization. The feds made the arrest three days before Thanksgiving as the NYPD remains on high alert for an ISIS inspired attack at the holiday parade. ISIS recently published an alarming article in its English language magazine calling the parade an “excellent target.”
The Thanksgiving Parade is not mentioned in Naji’s complaint, but the court papers note that “jihadist propaganda has long counseled followers to commit acts of violence like the one describe by Naji.”
Naji appeared briefly in Brooklyn Federal Court wearing a black sweatshirt and black basketball shorts. He was also dressed all in black attire in selfie photo he emailed his wife from Yemen, but in that photo he was wearing a tactical vest, armed with a large knife and the lower half of his face was covered with a black and gray bandana, court papers state.
Magistrate Judge Robert Levy ordered Naji held without bail. Naji has a wife and three children in Yemen, and another wife with whom he is estranged in New York, Kellman said.
He is being charged with providing material support to terrorist. The terror organization called the New York parade, which draws about 3.5 million people to the city, “an excellent target.
His arrest comes three days before Thanksgiving, as the NYPD and federal law enforcement are on high alert of an ISIS-inspired attack on the city’s Thanksgiving Day parade. ISIS encouraged its followers to rent trucks and use them to carry out Nice-style attack in its English language magazine this month.