At a Glance | June 18

New York Man Who Attempted to Join ISIS Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

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A New York man received a 15-year term in federal prison for trying to join ISIS, prosecutors announced on June 11. Arafat Nagi (right), 47, traveled to Turkey twice to meet members of the terrorist group. He claimed that he only wanted to join ISIS’s humanitarian efforts. However, the FBI began investigating Nagi in April 2014 after a member of his community in Lackawanna reported he vocally supported violent jihad. Social media posts that included a photo of Nagi with an assault rifle and praise for ISIS leadership were discovered. His first trip to Turkey came in October 2012, but he returned to the United States due to a medical condition. Prosecutors said he had sought advice from one of the “Lackawanna Six,” a group of six men convicted in 2003 for providing support to al-Qa’ida. He also stopped short of heading to Syria after a trip to Turkey in July 2014. Prosecutors said Nagi purchased military combat items prior to both trips and that he planned a third trip ahead of his arrest in July 2015. Nagi pleaded guilty in January to attempting to provide material support to ISIS. He is subject to 15 years of supervised release following his prison term.


Lakewood Public Schools Requiring Students to Use Clear Backpacks, Walk Through Metal Detectors

Following the arrests of two students who are accused of bringing a loaded handgun to an elementary school, the Lakewood (Ocean County) School District said new security measures will begin in the fall. Superintendent Laura Winters informed parents that students will be required to use transparent backpacks, which must be purchased as part of their school uniforms. Michael Inzelbuch, the district’s attorney, noted that all elementary schools in the district will be equipped with metal detectors by July 1. The district’s middle school and high school already have metal detectors installed. The district also purchased new handheld metal-detecting wands for use at its elementary schools. These enhanced security procedures come after police said that two students—a 9-year-old and 10-year-old—brought a loaded handgun to Oak Street Elementary School on June 5. The students, who face weapons charges, are accused of loading the gun on the bus and placing it in the older student’s backpack. Police stated that another student alerted school security.


Burlington County Allocates Funding to Strengthen Building Security at Public High Schools

Public high schools in Burlington County will have the opportunity to make security upgrades to their buildings with the assistance of county funds. During a news conference at Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mount Holly on June 12, county officials announced that $20 million of its capital budget this year is being allocated to assisting schools looking to make their buildings more secure. Officials noted that the initiative is in response to the growing concern surrounding safety to students and staff following school shootings across the country, including an incident in February at a high school in Florida that resulted in 17 deaths. Freeholder Director Kate Gibbs said that the voluntary program requires districts to apply for grants and agree to a security evaluation by an architectural firm. All of the 21 public high schools in the county are eligible to apply. Gibbs said the money can be used for upgrades, including surveillance cameras, new entrance vestibules, scan card systems, metal detectors, entry buzzers, panic alarms, and portable screening devices.


For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Analysis Bureau at analysis@njohsp.gov or 609-584-4000.