Tairod Pugh
Tairod Pugh faces 35 years in jail for attempting to join Islamic State in SyriaFacebook

A New York court convicted US Air Force veteran Tairod Pugh of attempting to join Islamic State (Isis/Daesh). He is the first person to be successfully prosecuted for an IS-related offence in the US.

Muslim convert Pugh, 48, was found to have attempted to travel from Turkey to IS-held territory in Syria in 2014, after losing his job as a mechanic in Egypt. Turkey denied him entry and he was extradited to the US. He faces up to 35 years in jail.

When investigators searched Pugh's computer, they found violent IS propaganda, and a letter to his Egyptian wife in which he expressed desire to become a martyr.

Turkish police found a black face mask in his possession, a map of border crossings from Turkey to Syria and another showing IS strongholds in Syria. Pugh served as an aircraft engineer in the US Air Force from 1986 to 1990, and worked as a US military contractor in Iraq from 2009 to 2010. He later worked as a civil aviation engineer in Kuwait.

He is the first person charged with IS-related offences to be successfully prosecuted in the US. In the only other case to have come to trial, Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem stands charged in Phoenix, Arizona, of involvement in a plan to attack a contest of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed in Texas in 2015. Two of his alleged associates were shot dead in the attack.

Pugh will be sentenced in September.