FBI arrests al-Qaeda-linked US army veteran as he returns from Turkey
Free Syrian Army fighters carry their weapons as they stand on a street in Sidi Meqdad area in the suburbs of Damascus, March 27, 2013. REUTERS photoFBI agents have arrested a U.S. army veteran at Dulles International Airport in Virginia as he was returning from Turkey on accusations that he joined an al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria.
Eric Harroun, 30, who entered Syria last November from Turkey, was first interrogated in Turkey by the FBI, the Daily Mail reported, citing a nine-page criminal complaint. Harroun told FBI agents that he opened fire on 10 people but added that he was not sure whether or not he had killed anyone.
According to documents, he entered Syria through Turkey and took part in clashes between al-Qaeda militants and government forces.
Harroun retired from the U.S. military after serving between 2000 and 2003.
The FBI began investigating Harroun after videos and photos were posted online of him fighting in Syria, showing him posing with weapons and boasting of killing members of the Syrian government. In one post, he claims credit for downing a Syrian helicopter. Prosecutors say Harroun was also fighting with the al-Nusra Front.
He was charged in a federal court in northern Virginia on March 28 with plotting to use a rocket-propelled grenade outside the U.S., an offense which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, according to the Justice Department.