Hoover woman, husband arrested while allegedly trying to join ISIS

Local News

FILE – In this Thursday, April 18, 2019, file photo, a sign for the Department of Justice hangs in the press briefing room at the Justice Department, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

NEWARK, N.J. (WIAT) — A Hoover woman and her husband have been arrested and charged by federal agents as they prepared to go and fight for ISIS, according to the United States Department of Justice.

According to prosecutors, Arwa Muthana, 29, and James Bradley, 20 of New York, are ISIS supporters who attempted to travel to the Middle East by a cargo ship to join and fight for the terrorist organization earlier this month.

“As alleged, the defendants planned to travel overseas to join and support ISIS,” Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division said in a written statement. “The threat of terrorism at home and abroad remains, and the National Security Division is committed to holding accountable those who would provide material support to foreign terrorist organizations.”

Muthana is the sister of Hoda Muthana, who left Alabama in 2014 to join ISIS. Hoda Muthana’s case became international news when she publicly recanted her allegiance to the group and tried to return to the United States. However, the government would not allow her to come back, denying she was an American citizen and rejecting her claim of birthright citizenship, even though she was born in New Jersey and her father was a diplomat from Yemen at the time of her birth.

According to law enforcement, Bradley expressed his desire to conduct a terrorist attack in the United States last May and potentially sought to attack the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. A month later, Bradley allegedly told agents that he wanted to conduct attacks at a New York university and target the ROTC training cadets.

The Department of Justice alleges that Bradley said if he could not leave the United States because he might be on a terrorism watch list, he would do “something” in the United States instead, referring to carrying out an attack.

In March, Bradley traveled from New York to Alabama to visit Muthana, according to the DOJ. They subsequently traveled together to New York in order to reportedly begin their journey to join ISIS. On Wednesday, Bradley and Muthana met with an undercover agent on their way to a seaport. The DOJ alleges that Muthana confirmed to the agent that she was traveling to the Middle East to fight for ISIS. Bradley and Muthana were then arrested as they were boarding the ship.

Following her arrest, Muthana waived her Miranda rights and allegedly stated during an interview that she was willing to fight and kill Americans if it was for Allah.

On the same day, the FBI seized what appeared to be a hand-drawn image of a jihadi flag commonly used by ISIS and a hand-drawn map of the Pakistan region from a bedroom previously used by Bradley.

Bradley and Muthana have been charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and one count of conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The full Department of Justice report can be found here.

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