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US indicts Pakistani doctor with planning 'lone wolf' attacks

US indicts Pakistani doctor with planning 'lone wolf' attacks

Pakistani doctor Muhammad Masood, who was in the US on a H-1B visa, was indicted by a federal grand jury for planning to carry out 'lone wolf' terror attacks in the US and for pledging allegiance to international terror group ISIS.

The indictment against Masood was announced on Friday by US Attorney Erica MacDonald.

He was arrested on March 19 while attempting to go to Syria to join the Islamic State (IS) terror group. The 28-year-old Masood was a research coordinator at a medical clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and had earlier completed his medical studies from Pakistan.

Earlier this year he had pledged allegiance to the IS and had expressing his desire to travel to Syria to fight for IS. He had also expressed his desire to conduct "lone wolf" terrorist attacks in the United States, court papers said.

On February 21 this year, Masood had purchased a ticket from Chicago to Amman, Jordan, from where he had planned to travel to Syria. But Jordan closed its borders to incoming travellers due to the coronavirus pandemic, Masood had to change his travel plans. He modified his plan to fly from Minneapolis to Los Angeles to meet up with an individual who would assist him to travel through a cargo ship to IS territory.

However, he was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Joint Terrorism Task Force at the Minneapolis airport. Masood had disclosed about his allegiance to the IS and his desire to join the group to some people when he was working at the Rochester medical clinic, the Department said.

Masood had graduated in 2016 from the Riphah International University in Islamabad which inculcates its professionals with Islamic morals and ethics. He worked in numerous government positions – Pakistan Railway Hospital, Federal Government Polyclinic Post-Graduate Medical Institute and the Government of Punjab’s Healthcare department in Rawalpindi. It was from here that he joined the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in February 2018..