US charges former Brooklyn resident with aiding Islamic State

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Mirsad Kandic, who was arrested in Bosnia, pleaded not guilty to working for IS as recruiter

IS militants and banner in Mosul in 2014 (AFP)
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Thursday 2 November 2017 3:43 UTC
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A former resident of Brooklyn, New York, has been brought to the United States to face charges that he travelled to the Middle East to work as a recruiter for the Islamic State (IS) group, according to a filing on Wednesday in Brooklyn federal court.

Mirsad Kandic, who was arrested in Bosnia earlier this year, was extradited on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty at a court hearing in Brooklyn on Wednesday. He remains in custody.

A lawyer representing Kandic, James Branden, declined to comment, saying he had not yet had time to review the case.

Prosecutors said Kandic, who was a legal permanent resident of the United States, travelled to Turkey in December 2013 and subsequently joined IS, helping recruit others over the internet.

Kandic communicated with potential recruits largely through more than 100 Twitter accounts he controlled, prosecutors said.

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One of his recruits was Jake Bilardi, an Australian teenager dubbed "Jihadi Jake" who carried out a suicide attack in Iraq in March 2015, according to prosecutors.

Kandic helped Bilardi travel from Melbourne to Istanbul in 2014 and personally encouraged him to carry out the attack, prosecutors said.

He also helped other people travel to the Middle East to help the group, according to prosecutors. Kandic relocated to Bosnia in January, according to prosecutors.

Kandic has been charged with providing material support to IS, designated a terrorist organisation by US authorities. He could face life in prison if convicted.

Meanwhile, US justice officials said on Wednesday they had found a second Uzbek man they were seeking in relation to the New York attack that killed eight people on a cycling and jogging path.

Less than an hour after the FBI released posters with a picture of Mukhammadzoir Kadirov, 32, and appealed for information, William Sweeney, the assistant director of the FBI's New York field office said he had been located.

"We are no longer looking for the person the information went out about," Sweeney told a news conference.

"We have found him and I'll leave it at that."

Last week, a US citizen from Virginia was sentenced to 20 years for going to Raqqa in Syria to fight with IS. In a separate case, an Uzbek citizen was sentenced in New York to 15 years for planning to join the militant group.

More than 100 people have faced US charges in connection with IS since 2014.