An American man and his wife have been arrested after boarding a ship headed to Yemen to join ISIS, the US Justice Department announced Thursday.
James Bradley and his wife Arwa Muthana “are ISIS supporters who attempted to travel to the Middle East to join and fight for ISIS,” the Justice Department said.
Bradley, 20, was being monitored by US law enforcement agencies since at least 2019. An undercover officer was in contact with Bradley, who said he was planning to attack the US Military Academy at West Point if he and his wife could not travel abroad.
“But in an alleged attempt to evade the watchful eye of law enforcement, the two ultimately planned to travel to Yemen by cargo ship to fulfill their wish to fight with the terrorist organization,” the Justice Department said.
Bradley and 29-year-old Muthana got married in January. The pair had discussed before and after the marriage plans to travel abroad to join and fight with ISIS.
In March, Bradley visited Muthana in Alabama, and from there, they headed to New York. During Bradley’s conversations with the undercover officer, he planned to board a cargo ship headed for Yemen.
“In a subsequent meeting with [a second undercover officer], Bradley provided [him] $1,000 in cash as travel costs for Bradley and Muthana to take a cargo ship to Yemen. Bradley also told [the officer] that he had a dream that he had given ‘bay’ah,’ an Arabic term meaning the oath of allegiance, to Abu Ibrahim al-hashimi al-Qurashi, the current leader of ISIS,” according to the Justice Department.
As they were boarding the ship on Wednesday, Bradley and Muthana were arrested.
Muthana admitted that she wanted to fight and kill Americans “if it was for Allah.”
“The threat of terrorism at home and abroad remains,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said.
For his part, Assistant Director Jill Sanborn of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division said that “anyone who chooses to turn their backs on the United States of America in support of ISIS and its violent agenda will be held accountable.”
This comes after the US warned that ISIS was a continuous threat outside of just Iraq and Syria.
“I think as you all know since the defeat of ISIS’ fraudulent territorial caliphate in 2019, ISIS has intensified its focus on the activities of its branches and networks,” Acting Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS John Godfrey previously said.