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US citizen charged with being sniper for ISIS in Syria

The Hill logo The Hill 7/19/2019 Rachel Frazin

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A U.S. citizen was charged with being a sniper for ISIS in Syria, the Justice Department announced Friday.

Ruslan Maratovich Asainov has been accused of providing and attempting to provide material support, including training, services and personnel to the terror group, according to a Justice Department statement.

Asainov was detained overseas and recently transferred to FBI custody, the statement said. He is expected to appear in federal court in New York on Friday afternoon.

The complaint against Asainov said that he entered Syria and joined ISIS after going to Turkey in December 2013. He allegedly climbed the terror organization's ranks, becoming an "emir" in charge of training others. Asainov also allegedly tried to recruit others to fight for ISIS.

US citizen charged with being sniper for ISIS in Syria © Getty Images US citizen charged with being sniper for ISIS in Syria He allegedly asked an informant to send him about $2,800 to buy a rifle scope in 2015 and allegedly sent the informant pictures of the rifle with the scope.

Asainov is accused of sending an associate a message that said "we are the worst terrorist organization in the world that has ever existed" and also allegedly said he wanted to die in battle.

"This arrest serves as a warning to anyone anywhere in the world who intends to support or conduct attacks on behalf of terrorist groups against the United States - you will be brought to justice," said New York Police Department Commissioner James P. O'Neill, who was among those announcing the charges, in the statement.

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