U.S. charges ISIL defector; Palestinian-American claims suicide bomb vow was a test

Special to WorldTribune.com

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

U.S. authorities on June 9 leveled terrorism charges against a man who joined the Islamic State (of Iraq and Levant, ISIL) extremist group for two months before surrendering to Kurdish authorities in Iraq in March.

In an affidavit that details the former militant’s everyday life in the ISIL stronghold in Mosul, U.S. prosecutors charged Mohamad Khweis, 26, with material support for terrorists and agreeing to be a suicide bomber.

Mohamad Khweis.
Mohamad Khweis.

A U.S. court in Alexandria, Virginia, ordered him held without bond.

Khweis, a Palestinian-American, surrendered to Kurdish forces in northern Iraq, saying he was initially attracted to IS because of its “peaceful and humanitarian efforts,” but after joining he became disenchanted and decided to leave and renounce the organization’s ideology.

But the FBI said that IS asked Khweis whether he was willing to serve as a suicide bomber, and he agreed.

Khweis said afterward he believed IS was testing his loyalty, and he never agreed to return to the United States and participate in attacks there.

Khweis’ attorney, John Zwerling, cautioned that the FBI’s case is just one interpretation of Khweis’ remarks.

“Everything is not as it appears in the government’s pleading,” he said.

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