New York

New York City Man Arrested Overseas Accused of Being a Major ISIS Recruiter

What to Know

  • A 32-year-old former Bronx and Brooklyn resident has been arrested in Sarajevo and extradited to the U.S. on terrorism charges
  • Federal prosecutors allege he was a major recruiter and propagandist for the Islamic State after heading to Iraq and Syria several years ago
  • Authorities allege he recruited extremists form the US, UK, Australia and other countries, and promoted the Islamic State on Twitter

A New York man has been arraigned on federal terrorism charges after he was arrested overseas this week and accused of being a major recruiter and propagandist for the Islamic State.

Misrad Kandic, 36, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Brooklyn federal court Wednesday afternoon following his extradition to the U.S. from Bosnia's capital city of Sarajevo Tuesday night. A judge granted a request for him to be detained pending trial.

Authorities say Kandic is a legal U.S. resident who lived in Brooklyn and the Bronx before traveling to Istanbul, Turkey, in 2013 to join the Islamic State. 

Kandic allegedly wanted to kill or maim U.S. military forces and used fake documents to overcome a no-fly designation and go to Turkey before joining the Islamic State, or ISIS. 

"From Turkey, he proceeded to recruit others to join ISIS, swelling their ranks and helping them commit terrorist acts," Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde said in a statement announcing the indictment Wednesday. 

Kandic allegedly became a recruiter for the terror group and was in contact with jihadists across the globe. Authorities allege he helped foreign fighters from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and elsewhere travel to ISIS-controlled territories in Syria and Iraq.

Among the people he recruited was 18-year-old Jake Bilardi, an Australian who carried out a deadly suicide bombing in Ramadi, Iraq, on March 11, 2015, according to the indictment. 

Kandic and Bilardi corresponded on Twitter before the bombing, according to authorities. During their conversations, Bilardi allegedly told his recruiter, "just went to look at my target today for my operation." 

"May Allah reward you immensely," Kandic allegedly replied, later adding, "May Allah make there (sic) inner organs implode." 

After Bilardi blew himself up, Kandic promoted the suicide bombing on at least one of the 100 or more Twitter accounts he used to provide updates about ISIS attacks and territorial gains, authorities say. 

Kandic faces life in prison if convicted of two of the six federal terrorism counts against him; five of the counts are for providing material support to ISIS and the sixth is for conspiracy. 

Kandic's lawyer, James Branden, told NBC 4 New York the two of them had only spoken briefly but that "he seemed nice, personable." He didn't comment on the charges against his client. 

News of the arrest comes a day after a 29-year-old U.S. man was arrested for allegedly renting a truck and barreling through a Manhattan bike lane for more than a dozen blocks in the deadliest terror attack in New York since Sept. 11, 2001. At least eight people were killed and a dozen more injured before the suspect was shot and injured by police. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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