American Man, Joshua Ray Van Haften, Accused Of Trying To Support ISIS

04/09/2015 11:09 am ET | Updated Apr 09, 2015

(Reuters) - An American man has been charged with trying to provide support for the Islamic State militant group, the U.S Justice Department said on Thursday.

Joshua Ray Van Haften, 34, of Madison, Wisconsin, intended to travel to Iraq or Syria to join the militant group, also known by the acronyms ISIL or ISIS, prosecutors said in a statement.

Van Haften was due to make an initial appearance in federal court in Madison on Thursday. He was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on Wednesday night after arriving on a flight back from Turkey.

If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

Prosecutors allege that Van Haften left the United States on August 26, 2014, bound for Turkey, an intermediary stop for many would-be fighters due to the border it shares with Syria.

While there, he exchanged a series of Facebook messages with friends and interacted through the social network with other alleged Islamic State supporters, according to prosecutors.

In one series of messages with a former roommate in the United States in October, he was asked when he would return home. He replied: "Turkey is looking like it is divided at the moment about attacking ISIS, which if they do, I'm gonna attack them," according to prosecutors.

He added: "I was about to cross to Syria ... but I didn't make it. Hopefully soon though. ... I'm tired of this life man."

A lawyer for Van Haften could not be immediately located for comment.

(Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir)

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