As the United States expanded its fight against the Islamic State group by conducting airstrikes in Libya this week, an American who allegedly attempted to join the terrorist group was to go on trial soon in New York, the Associated Press reported Saturday.
Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, 48, an Air Force veteran stopped at an airport in Turkey in January 2015, was found to have been carrying propaganda materials from the group, also known as ISIS, authorities have said. A later search of his computer found a letter to his wife explaining his desire to join ISIS and revealed search terms including “borders controlled by Islamic state” and “kobani border crossing,” ABC News reported.
Court papers alleged Pugh wrote to his wife, “I will use the talents and skills given to me by Allah to establish and defend the Islamic States.” Jury selection in Pugh’s case is expected to begin next week as the U.S. begins legal proceedings against more than 70 citizens who have attempted to join ISIS. Pugh has pleaded not guilty.
In Arizona, meanwhile, the trial of Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem began this week. Kareem has been accused of plotting an attack against a cartoon exhibit in Texas that depicted the Prophet Muhammad. An ISIS flag was found in the backpack of one of Kareem’s accomplices in the thwarted attack, authorities have said.
Several other cases were also moving forward, with trials soon scheduled to begin in Minnesota and North Carolina. American officials have accused 82 citizens of attempting to join ISIS, a New York Times count found. Charges filed by the FBI showed that 32 people expressed the desire to carry out attacks in the U.S.
As cases go to trial in the U.S., the fight against ISIS continues overseas, with reports from the U.S. military that the U.S. and its allies launched 16 airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq Friday, along with nine airstrikes in Syria, Reuters reported.