An Iraqi-born American citizen living in Mesquite has been charged with lying to federal agents after the FBI connected him to the Islamic State in Syria.
Bilal Abood -- who became a U.S. citizen in 2009 -- was detained at DFW airport after he wasn't allowed to board an international flight on March 29, 2013. FBI agents at the airport asked him about his travel plans. According to the FBI, Abood told them he was simply headed to Iraq to visit family and didn't know why they were stopping him from flying.
On April 4, 2013, agents interviewed Abood again, this time in Mesquite. After again denying that he was headed to the Middle East to fight, he eventually said that he'd intended to go fight against Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria with the Free Syrian Army.
Two weeks later, the FBI learned that Abood was in San Antonio, and was getting ready to ditch the United States for the Middle East again, the agency says. An informant told the FBI that Abood was watching ISIS and Al-Qaida videos on the Internet. Abood told the informant, according to the FBI, that he wished to help ISIS establish itself.
Abood then made his way to Mexico before flying to Turkey, according to the FBI. He admits, the FBI says, going to Syria through Turkey, but insists he fought with the Free Syrian Army.
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In July 2014, the FBI seized Abood's computer in Mesquite. On it, they say, they found evidence that Abood tweeted his allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. When FBI agents returned the computer in April 2015, Abood told them, they say, that he knew lying to a federal agent was a crime. He then claimed he never pledged allegiance to al-Baghdadi, the FBI says.