Pakistani doctor arrested in US after he planned to join ISIS

Washington D.C. [US], Mar 20 (ANI): A Pakistani doctor, who had "expressed his desire to go to Syria" to fight for dreaded terrorist organisation ISIS and conduct lone wolf terror attacks in the US was arrested on Thursday, according to Department of Justice.

Dr. Muhammad Masood, 28, was arrested at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) when he was 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, 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," US Department of Justice said.

Masood, who was arrested at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, 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.

It said that 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.

"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.

Masood's plan to travel to Syria from Jordan was jeopardised because Jordan closed its borders to incoming travel due to outbreak of coronavirus.

"On February 21, 2020, Masood purchased a plane ticket from Chicago, Illinois to Amman, Jordan, and from there planned to travel to Syria. On March 16, 2020, Masood's travel plans changed because Jordan closed its borders to incoming travel due to the Coronavirus pandemic. 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," the Justice Department said.

On March 19, Masood travelled from Rochester to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) to board a flight bound for Los Angeles, California.

"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 Department stated. (ANI)