Virginia man who joined Islamic State now facing trial in US

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A one-time bus driver from Virginia accused of traveling to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State is going on trial Tuesday in federal court.

Twenty-seven-year-old Mohamad Khweis spent three months in Islamic State territory before surrendering to Kurdish forces in March 2016. Khweis told authorities that life in the Islamic State was too difficult and that he made a bad decision.

Prosecutors say Khweis’ actions were serious, and that he went as far as to volunteer as a suicide bomber when he went through the formal intake process with Islamic State officials.

Defense attorneys have argued Khweis was desperate to return to the United States, even if it meant facing criminal charges, so he exaggerated his conduct to FBI interrogators to get out of Kurdish prison.

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