ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — The Latest on the trial of a Virginia man who traveled to the Mideast to explore the Islamic State group (all times local):
A jury has convicted a Virginia man on terrorism charges after he traveled to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State group and volunteered to serve as a suicide bomber.
Twenty-seven-year-old Mohamad Khweis of Alexandria was found guilty on all counts Wednesday evening.
He left the U.S. in December 2015 for Turkey, looking for a way to get across the Syrian border and join the militant group.
He eventually spent three months in Islamic State-controlled territory before reconsidering his choice and escaping. He was captured in March 2016 by Kurdish forces in northern Iraq.
Khweis testified that he was curious about the Islamic State group and wanted to check it out for himself, but never wanted to be a fighter.
Prosecutors ridiculed the notion that Khweis traveled on some kind of ill-conceived curiosity tour.
A jury is now considering the fate of a Virginia man who traveled to Syria and Iraq because, as he put it, he wanted to “check things out” inside the Islamic State.
Lawyers presented closing arguments Wednesday in the terrorism trial of Mohamad Khweis of Alexandria, who eventually fled the Islamic State and was captured by Kurdish forces last year.
Prosecutors ridiculed the notion that Khweis was on a three-month curiosity tour. They noted that he told terrorists on an intake form that he was willing to be a suicide bomber.
Khweis took the stand and testified that once he arrived in Syria, he felt he couldn’t refuse requests from Islamic State officials for fear of being labeled a spy.
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