A young Jewish American man has been charged with pretending to be an Australian-based Islamic State jihadist after a FBI joint investigation with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) based on information provided by Fairfax.
Joshua Ryne Goldberg, 20, who still lives with his parents, is accused of posing online as “Australi Witness”, an IS supporter who publicly called for a series of attacks against individuals and events in western countries.
He had recently claimed that he was working with other jihadists to plan attacks in Australia and the US and sent photos of a bomb that he was working on with “2lbs of explosives inside”.
Today, the AFP released a statement confirming a 20-year-old US man had been arrested by the FBI for distributing information relating to explosives and destructive devices to facilitate a possible terrorist act in the United States. He could face 20 years in jail if convicted.
The AFP first became aware of the man in June and tracked the person responsible for sending the “threats” to the US before asking the FBI to take over.
AFP Acting Deputy Commissioner National Security Neil Gaughan alleged Goldberg had “relied on the internet providing a cloak of anonymity”.
“This operation again highlights how law enforcement can investigate people in the online space and use our long-established partnerships to work with overseas agencies to bring people to account for their actions”.
In the leadup to an exhibition in Garland, Texas, at which pictures of the Prophet Mohammed were to be displayed, “Australi Witness” tweeted the event’s address and reposted a tweet urging people to go there with “weapons, bombs or with knifes”.
Two Muslim men attempted an attack at the exhibition, and were killed by police. Australi Witness then praised them online as martyrs.