WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A 24-year-old San Diego man was charged on Thursday with lying about his involvement with Islamic militants fighting in Syria, the Justice Department said.
Mohamad Saeed Kodaimati faced two counts of making false statements involving international terrorism matters in U.S. District Court of the Southern District of California.
Saeed, who was born in Syria and is a naturalized U.S. citizen, is accused of making false statements during interviews with the FBI and other U.S. authorities at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, in March, the Justice Department said.
The criminal complaint said Saeed falsely claimed he had not been involved in any fighting, had never fired his weapon at anyone and did not know any Islamic State members. He also said he had never told anyone he was involved with the Nusra Front and had never worked or volunteered at a Sharia court, it said.
Nusra Front is al Qaeda's Syrian arm.
"Evidence gathered during the investigation contradicts these and other statements Saeed made to the interviewing agents," a Justice Department statement said.
Saeed traveled from San Diego to Istanbul and was in Syria and Turkey until his return to the United States in March.
He was arrested on Wednesday in Rancho Bernardo, located in the northern part of San Diego, the Justice Department said.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Leslie Adler)