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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

FBI: US soldier pledged allegiance to ISIL

Ikaika Kang, a sergeant first class in the US Army, made an initial appearance Monday in federal court in Honolulu

Paul Delacourt, the FBI special agent in charge of the Hawaii bureau, (R), speaks at a news conference as Acting US Attorney Elliot Enoki, (L), listens outside federal court in Honolulu on Monday. AP / Caleb Jones
Paul Delacourt, the FBI special agent in charge of the Hawaii bureau, (R), speaks at a news conference as Acting US Attorney Elliot Enoki, (L), listens outside federal court in Honolulu on Monday. AP / Caleb Jones

An active duty soldier based in Hawaii pledged his allegiance to ISIL, helped purchase a drone for it to use against American forces and said he wanted to use his rifle to "kill a bunch of people", according to an FBI affidavit.

Ikaika Kang, a sergeant first class in the US army, made an initial appearance Monday in federal court in Honolulu. He was arrested on Saturday on terrorism charges.

Paul Delacourt, the FBI special agent in charge of the Hawaii bureau, said no documents made it to ISIL.

Birney Bervar, Kang's appointed attorney, said after Kang's initial court appearance that he still does not know much about the case. He said he only talked to Kang for a few minutes.

The 26-page affidavit from FBI Special Agent Jimmy Chen lays out details of the year-long investigation into the 34-year-old soldier, who was a one-time martial arts fighter who thought he was dealing with ISIL agents but were undercover agents or sources instead.

Among the charges was that Kang copied military secret documents in 2015 and wanted to provide them to the organisation, according to the affidavit. It also says Kang admitted that he voluntarily pledged loyalty to ISIL leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.

This occurred on Saturday at a home in Honolulu, where he thought he was meeting an actual member of the organisation, the affidavit says. They made combat training videos he believed would be taken back to the Middle East to help prepare the group's soldiers to fight American forces, according to the affidavit.

Kang, who received extensive combat training, also helped purchase a drone that he believed would help ISILsoldiers escape from American tanks, the affidavit says.

Kang, a trained air-traffic controller based at Hawaii's Wheeler Army Airfield, had his military clearance revoked in 2012 for making pro-ISIL comments while at work and on-post and threatening to hurt or kill fellow service members.

His clearance was reinstated a year later after he completed military requirements.

However, the affidavit says the army believed Kang was becoming radicalised in 2016 and asked the FBI to investigate.

Kang has two firearms registered in his name, an AR-15-style assault rifle and a handgun. After the shooting last summer at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, he told an undercover source that the "shooter did what he had to do and later said that America is the only terrorist organisation in the world", according to the affidavit.

The document alleges he also later told the same source that "Hitler was right, saying he believed in the mass killing of Jews".

Kang enlisted in the army in December 2001, just months after the September 11 attacks. He served in Iraq from March 2010 to February 2011 and Afghanistan from July 2013 to April 2014. Kang was assigned to the headquarters of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade.