Pennsylvania teen hit with new Islamic State-related charges

Reuters News
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Posted: May 18, 2016 3:41 PM

By Joseph Ax

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania teenager indicted for supporting Islamic State was hit with fresh terrorism charges on Wednesday, as U.S. prosecutors accused him of posting online the names of approximately 100 U.S. military members and exhorting his followers to kill them.

Jalil Aziz, 19, used his Twitter account to release the names, addresses, photographs and military branches of the U.S. service members, according to a superseding indictment filed in federal court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Aziz told his followers to "kill them in their own lands, behead them in their own homes, stab them to death as they walk their street thinking that they are safe," according to authorities.

The information had previously been posted online by supporters of Islamic State, according to Aziz's defense lawyer, Thomas Thornton, who emphasized that the new charges are based on the same alleged acts that led to the initial indictment.

"All of these charges come from Mr. Aziz allegedly using his telephone in his room in his house," Thornton said, calling it "teenage stupidity."

Aziz was arrested in December on charges that he tried to help others travel to the Middle East to join fighters for Islamic State. The militant group controls territory in Syria and Iraq and has claimed responsibility for numerous mass killings, including the coordinated attacks in Paris in November that killed 130 people.

He used at least 57 separate Twitter accounts to advocate violence against U.S. citizens and to disseminate Islamic State propaganda, prosecutors said. Aziz served as an intermediary between a person living in Turkey and several members of Islamic State, according to court documents.

Prosecutors also said investigators found a "go bag" containing ammunition for an assault rifle, a black mask and a knife at Aziz's house.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Alistair Bell)