A Pakistani doctor, 28, was arrested Thursday on terrorism charges, according to reports, because he allegedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) group and wanted to carry out “lone wolf” attacks in the United States.
Muhammad Masood, who was working as a research coordinator at a medical clinic in Rochester, Minn., and was in the U.S. on a work visa, was arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday by FBI agents and was charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
Starting in January 2020, Masood made several statements to others pledging ISIS allegiance, according to prosecutors; he also expressed desire to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS.
Prosecutors say Masood bought a plane ticket on Feb. 21 to travel from Chicago to Amman, Jordan, and then planned to go to Syria from there. But on March 16, he had to change his travel plans because Jordan closed its borders because of the coronavirus pandemic. Masood switched his plans to fly from Minneapolis to Los Angeles to meet with someone who he believed would help him travel in a cargo ship into ISIS territory.
He was arrested Thursday at the airport after he checked in for his flight to Los Angeles.
His attorney, Manny Atwal, had no immediate comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.