U.S. News

Former Brooklyn resident charged in U.S. with aiding Islamic State

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former resident of Brooklyn, New York, has been brought to the United States to face charges that he traveled to the Middle East to work as a recruiter for Islamic State, 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, traveled to Turkey in December 2013 and subsequently joined the Islamic State militant group, helping recruit others over the internet.

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

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 Islamic State, designated a terrorist organization by U.S. authorities. He could face life in prison if convicted.

Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Toni Reinhold and Alistair Bell