The stories have been coming on an almost weekly, sometimes daily basis. A middle-class teen or twentysomething, or group of them, are either caught or just missed as they try to leave their home country to join up with the radical ISIS terror group.
The latest, though, may be the most surprising. The Washington Post reports that an unnamed 17-year-old Northern Virginia high school student was taken into custody on Friday after authorities accused him of helping to recruit for ISIS.
Though the FBI is not commenting, the boy's neighbors and an official familiar with the case said FBI agents raided the teen's house, leading him out with his hands cuffed behind his back. He is currently being charged as a juvenile, but federal prosecutors are looking into moving him to adult court after claiming that the teen allegedly helped an adult a bit older then himself travel to Syria to join ISIS.
Sources said the Muslim teen helped arrange the man's travel using online contacts he made with the Islamic State overseas. Neighbors described the accused (who the paper didn't name because he's a juvenile) as quiet and "exceptionally intelligent," citing articles he wrote for a digital currency website that covered complicated science and tech topics. Officials conducted surveillance on the teen for more than a month and are looking into another 17-year-old from the same high school who is thought to have played a smaller part in the plan.
Prosecutors are expected to publicly indict the man who traveled to Syria, but it was unclear at press time what the status of the charges against the teen are. The Post said the high schooler's LinkedIn page listed some of his interests as civil rights and social action, disaster and humanitarian relief, with support noted for the Council on American-Islamic Relations of New York and Islamic Relief Worldwide. To date, experts say that more than 20,000 foreign fighters have joined ISIS, with about 180 Americans traveling to Syria (or attempting to) since the battle with the Islamic State began.
Just last week, the man known as "Jihadi John," was identified by several sources as a 26-year-old Kuwati-born Londoner named Mohammed Emwazi, who has gained notoriety for videos in which he wears a mask while brutally beheading ISIS captives.
He joined a long list of recent ISIS recruits, which includes a pair of Austrian teenager girls who fled to Syria to join militants, three teenage Denver high school students who attempted to do the same, four Canadian teens who may have flown to Turkey recently and three Brooklyn men, including a 19 and 24-year-old, arrested in late February for allegedly plotting a jihad on behalf of ISIS.