The 22-year-old soldier, with ties to neo-Nazis, is accused of planning a deadly ambush on his own unit in a bid to spark a new war. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.
A US soldier with neo-Nazi ties has been charged with plotting to have an Islamic extremist attack on his military unit in Turkey, authorities said Monday. The 22-year-old is accused of wanting to spark a new "10-year war" in the Middle East, according to charges.
The Justice Department said Private Ethan Melzer, of Louisville, Kentucky, attempted to work with an extremist group identified as the neo-Nazi and satanist group Order of the Nine Angles, also known as O9A, to orchestrate an attack on his unit.
Melzer is said to have planned for the "jihadist" attack to cause the deaths of as many fellow soldiers as possible.
According to the indictment, Melzer's plot was foiled by the US Army and the FBI in late May, when he reached out to an FBI informant he believed had ties to jihadist groups and offered detailed information on his unit's movements. He was arrested on June 10.
'Motivated by racism'
Acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss for the Southern District of New York described Melzer as "the enemy within" who allegedly attempted "to orchestrate a murderous ambush on his own unit."
"Melzer was motivated by racism and hatred as he attempted to carry out this ultimate act of betrayal,'' Strauss said.
The Justice Department said Melzer used online chatrooms to provides details of his unit's planned location and security arrangements in Turkey so that they could easily be overpowered. He also confessed that he knew he might die in the process but he "would've died successfully".
He has been charged with conspiring and attempting to murder Americans and members of the US military, providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists as well as conspiring to murder and maim in an undisclosed foreign country. If found guilty, he would face up to life in prison.
see/stb (AFP, AP)