An Uber driver from Brooklyn has been accused of traveling to the Middle East to join ISIS and expressed support for a Nice-style attack with a garbage truck in Times Square, New York authorities said.
Mohamed Rafik Naji, 37, faces charges of providing material support for terrorism and was arrested in his home on Monday.
Last summer, Naji allegedly expressed support to an informant for carrying out a deadly attack in Times Square with a garbage truck crushing pedestrian just like the ISIS truck attack in Nice, France in July.
"They (ISIS) want an operation in Times Square," Naji told the informant on July 19.
"As alleged, the defendant was persistent in his efforts to join ISIL and support its terrorist objectives,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Capers. “We will continue to identify and prosecute individuals like Naji who seek to empower our nation’s enemies and endanger our citizens and partners around the world.”
Naji made it as far as Turkey, but was never able to cross the border to Syria. He asked relatives in New York for money on more than one occasion to support his campaign against America.
His attorney, Susan Kellman, said he had "a legitimate purpose" for being in Yemen.
"I have no idea what my client said and what the confidential source said," she said."He had a legitimate purpose for being in Yemen. He has family there."