LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL) – Startling news settling over the east Alabama community as a dual Jordanian and United States citizen living in Auburn and attending school in Opelika is arrested in a Federal terrorism probe.
FBI agents took Nayef Qashou into custody on Monday, and he appeared in Montgomery Federal Court later this week after being indicted and charged.
News 3 is digging into Qashou’s background and reaching out to investigators to determine if Qashou was allegedly working alone or a part of a more extensive suspected terror cell.
FBI agents allege Qashou lied to FBI agents and destroyed evidence in their terror probe while asserting Qashou allegedly told agents he would execute a U.S. Soldier if the Islamic State Group ordered him to.
In a newly unsealed affidavit, the FBI says Qashou arrived in the U.S. through Atlanta’s airport in 2015 and made his way to Opelika to go to school. The FBI interviewed him more than a dozen times over the past four years before making the arrest this week after he was indicted.
News 3 has learned he lived in Auburn and took general education classes at Southern Union Community College from 2016-2018
The FBI claims he used encrypted phone apps to communicate with suspected terrorists who told him he should carry out an attack in the United States.
FBI agents searched his home in Auburn, telling a judge they were looking for computer equipment and computer storage devices.
Qashou is charged with making a false statement after allegedly lying about videos he had taken, the number of videos and content. The FBI says he provided the video to at least one other person.
The second count involves the destruction of records in a federal terror investigation relating to messaging applications on his cell phone.
Thursday, Qashou’s federal defender, The U.S. Attorney’s Office, The Lee County Sheriff, and Opelika Police all declined to comment on the case.
Auburn Police Chief Paul Register declined to comment on the specifics of the case but did address public safety.
“The Auburn Police Division will continue, as in this case, to work with our federal partners to ensure that our community is safe. I am confident that Qashou’s arrest further ensures the safety of our community,” said Register.