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December 17, 2015

Feds charge Pennsylvania man with supporting Islamic State

A Pennsylvania man has been arrested on charges of conspiring and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the United States Department of Justice announced Thursday. 

Jalil Ibn Ameer Aziz, 19, a U.S. citizen, was charged in a two-count criminal complaint unsealed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania after his arrest, according to a news release from the Justice Department.

According to the court documents, Aziz allegedly used at least 57 different Twitter accounts to advocate violence against the United States and its citizens, to disseminate ISIL propaganda and espouse pro-ISIL views.  

Aziz is alleged to have posted a hyperlink containing the names, addresses and other identifying information of 100 reported members of the U.S. military and calls for violence against them, law enforcement officials said.   

Additionally, on at least three occasions, Aziz allegedly used his Twitter accounts and other electronic communication services to assist other individuals seeking looking to fight for ISIL.  

In at least one case, Aziz acted as an intermediary and passed location information – including maps and a telephone number – between a person in Turkey and several well-known members of ISIL, federal prosecutors alleged.

A search of a backpack located in Aziz’s closet found five loaded M4-style, high-capacity magazines, a modified kitchen knife, a thumb drive, medication and a balaclava, a form of cloth headgear similar to a ski mask, authorities said.

Aziz's arrest was announced by John Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security; U.S. Attorney Peter J. Smith of the Middle District of Pennsylvania and Special Agent in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division.

“According to the allegations in the complaint, Jalil Ibn Ameer Aziz conspired to provide and attempted to provide material support to ISIL by propagating their hateful rhetoric on social media and aiding individuals in their pursuit of traveling overseas to join the designated foreign terrorist organization,” Carlin said in a statement.

If convicted, the defendants’ sentence will be determined by the court after reviewing factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, and the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation, law enforcement officials said.