(CN) – A Yemeni man living in Brooklyn, New York was charged Monday with attempting to provide support to the Islamic State group, including supporting an attack in Manhattan’s Time Square.
Mohammed Rafik Naji was arrested Monday morning. According to federal prosecutors, the 37-year-old Brooklynite has been posting messages of support for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria since September 2014. Among other things, he expressed a desire to fight for the organization in Yemen.
Naji is accused of traveling to Turkey and Yemen between March 22, 2015, and Sept. 9, 2015, in an effort to join ISIS fighting in Yemen.
In an email to his girlfriend on March 25, 2016, Naji allegedly wrote that “It’s very hard to get in” and told her he was about to make his fifth try.
He also allegedly vowed to keep trying even if that attempt was unsuccessful and he needed to try to join ISIS forces from another location.
Court documents say that a month later, Naji sent a selfie to his girlfriend in which he was dressed entirely in black, including a tactical vest in which a large knife handle was visible.
He also allegedly sent her a video that showed him under gunfire.
Prosecutors say the girlfriend allegedly sent him money several times in Yemen.
For all this, the government says Naji ultimately was frustrated in the desire to join ISIS in Yemen. Instead, they say, he returned to Brooklyn and share his plans for a local attack with a confidential informant.
“They want an operation in Times-Square, reconnaissance group already put out a scene, the Islamic State already put up scenes of Times-Square, you understand,” Naji is alleged to have said. “I said that was an indication of whoever is smart to know.”