The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has charged a newlywed American couple for supporting a “terror group” after trying to board a Yemen-bound ship to join ISIS. According to Associated Press, James Bradley, 20, and Arwa Muthana, 29, were arrested on April 1 on the gangplank at Port Newark. The couple was charged in federal court in Manhattan with attempting and conspiring to provide material support to a designated terrorist organisation.
The couple, who made an initial court appearance on Thursday, was ordered jailed without bail. Manhattan IS Attorney Audrey Strauss said that the couple’s plans to wage attacks against the US have been thwarted. The prosecutors further said that Bradley, who hails from the Bronx, expressed support for IS and spoke of his desire to join the group overseas in recorded conversations over the course of nearly a year with an undercover enforcement officer. They added that Bradley also spoke to an undercover officer who led him to the ship about potentially attacking the US Military Academy at West Point, New York.
The prosecutors even added that Bradley sought transit to the Middle East by cargo because he feared he might have been on a terrorist watch list. It is worth mentioning that the complaint outlining the charges against Bradley and Muthana does not mention the defendants discussing their intentions with the IS or others beyond the two undercover law enforcement officers.
Muthana, who hails from Alabama, on the other hand also expressed support for IS and discussed with Bradley plans to travel together to the Middle East to fight on behalf of the group. The prosecutors said that after her arrest, she waived her right to remain silent and said that she was willing to fight and kill Americans. Muthana and Bradley were married in January.
Back in 2019, Bradley had even planned to travel to Afghanistan to join the Taliban and attack American soldiers. However, he changed his mind because of ideological differences with the person he was supposed to travel with. Now, after travelling to Alabama to visit Muthana, prosecutors said that Bradley had approached the undercover officer with the idea of travelling on a cargo ship to join IS.
The undercover officer connected Bradley with a “facilitator” - another undercover officer - and Bradley paid that person $1,000 in cash for travel costs. Bradley had even told that officer that he and Muthana planned to be “fighting” upon arrival in Yemen and that he’d had a dream that he had given an oath of allegiances to IS leader Aby Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi.