US & Canada

Active duty US Army sergeant charged with support for IS

Kang Image copyright KGMB
Image caption Kang had enlisted shortly after the 11 September attacks

A US Army sergeant in Hawaii has been charged with attempting to provide material support to the so-called Islamic State group, the FBI says.

Ikaika Erik Kang, 34, is an air traffic control specialist who has previously served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His lawyer told US media that he "may have some service-related mental health issues which the government was aware of but neglected to treat".

Officials say he planned to send a drone and martial arts videos overseas.

The decorated combat veteran was arrested at his home in Waipahu on Saturday after pledging loyalty to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, officials say.

He had been stationed at the Schofield Barracks in Honolulu and was enlisted in the 25th Infantry Division.

Image copyright KGMB-TV
Image caption Kang made an initial court appearance on Monday

Mr Kang - who had received the military's highest level of hand-to-hand combat training according to the FBI - had filmed a martial arts training video with the help of an undercover FBI operative who he believed to be a member of the IS terror group.

He videotaped the combat lessons "so they could be used by ISIS to train other fighters", the charging document said.

Last month he purchased a commercial drone equipped with a camera, telling an undercover operative that the more than $1,100 (£850) device could be used on the battlefield to evade US tanks.

He had also attempted to provide classified documents to the group, according to officials, who add that he was a "lone actor" and that no current threat exists to Hawaii residents.

Officials say he had made pro-IS remarks going as far back as 2011.

"He was reprimanded on several occasions for threatening to hurt or kill other service members, and for arguing pro-ISIS views while at work and on-post," the affidavit reads, using another name for the Syria-based terror group.

In May 2017 a US Air Force veteran received a 35-year sentence for attempting to join the IS terror group.

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