Pakistani who worked at Mayo Clinic now faces terrorism charge

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FILE — A Pakistani doctor and former researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has been arrested on a terrorism charge. (Source: Gray News)

The Islamic State group remains a magnet for malcontent would-be jihadis in the United States, sometimes even attracting people with high-profile jobs at prestigious institutions.

A Pakistani doctor who had served as a research coordinator at the Mayo Clinic was arrested this week in Minnesota on a terrorism charge, reports U.S. News, with prosecutors saying he told paid FBI informants that he had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group and was willing to execute “lone wolf” attacks within the United States.

Muhammad Masood, 28, was apprehended at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on March 19 by the FBI and is charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

According to prosecutors, Masood was in the U.S. on a work visa. They allege that starting in January, Masood told paid informants whom he believed to be members of ISIS that he would pledge allegiance to the group and its leader. He also allegedly said he would travel to Syria to fight for ISIS and would launch attacks in the U.S.

According to an FBI affidavit, Masood messaged an informant “there is so much I wanted to do here .. .lone wulf stuff you know … but I realized I should be on the ground helping brothers sisters kids.”

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. He had planned to leave at the end of March. But on March 16, he had to change his travel plans because Jordan closed its borders due to the coronavirus.

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