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N.Y. Man Sentenced to More Than 16 Years in Prison for Trying to Join ISIS or al-Nusra

Redzepagic admitted that at the time he attempted to enter Syria he was prepared to strap a bomb to himself.

A New York man was sentenced today to 200 months, more than 16 years, in prison for attempting to provide material support and resources to the designated foreign terrorist organizations the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the al-Nusrah Front.

Elvis Redzepagic, 30, of Commack, pleaded guilty in April 2021. According to court documents, in early 2015, Redzepagic began communicating with an individual he believed to be both the commander of a battalion in Syria and a member of ISIS or the al-Nusrah Front, and made attempts to join that individual’s battalion to engage in violent jihad. In July 2015, Redzepagic traveled to Turkey and made multiple unsuccessful attempts to cross the border into Syria. Unable to enter Syria from Turkey, Redzepagic traveled to Jordan in August 2016, but was stopped and deported by Jordanian authorities.

In Facebook messages from October 2015, Redzepagic explained that “jihad” is when “you fight for the sake of God” and “die for the sake of Allah.” Redzepagic stated that he traveled to Turkey to “perform Jihad and join Jabhat Al-Nusra.” He predicted, “there will come a time where people will only know to say Allahu Akbar.” In subsequent interviews with law enforcement, Redzepagic admitted that at the time he attempted to enter Syria, he was prepared to strap a bomb to himself.

A search of the defendant’s laptop yielded a variety of ISIS-specific extremist propaganda, including ISIS nasheeds, or Islamist hymns, including the “ISIS Anthem” in English. Redzepagic also repeatedly accessed the website “Put hilafeta,” or “Way to the Caliphate,” a Bosnian-language website for prospective foreign fighters from the Balkans who primarily sought to join ISIS and wage jihad in Syria.

Read more at the Justice Department

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