At a Glance | July 17

Active-Duty US Soldier Tried to Provide ISIS With a UAV, Combat Training, and Classified Documents

An active-duty US Army soldier assigned to Schofield Barracks in Hawaii has been arrested and charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS, the FBI announced last week. Among other charges, the defendant, Ikaika Kang contributed to the purchase of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV, also known as a drone) to be provided to ISIS, and attempted to provide ISIS with combat training and classified and unclassified military documents. During the course of a year-long investigation, Kang was unwittingly in contact with undercover law enforcement employees and human sources, and none of this support actually reached ISIS.

This case is noteworthy for the senior rank and the military skills of the defendant. As a Sergeant First Class (enlisted grade E-7), Kang, age 34, is a senior non-commissioned officer (NCO). He has served deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, and had extensive combat training. According to the criminal complaint, he achieved “Level IV Tactical Combat Instructor” status—the highest level available at the time—enabling him to serve as a hand-to-hand combat instructor for other soldiers. He is also a trained air traffic controller.

Kang has an extensive history of making threats against other military personnel and expressing support for ISIS, dating back to 2011. His security clearance was revoked in 2012, but it was reinstated the following year. On July 8, 2017, he swore a pledge of loyalty to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (photo shows prosecution image of Kang posing with an ISIS flag). He then said he wanted to take his rifle and “kill a bunch of people.” He and a confidential human source then began making combat training videos that Kang believed the source would deliver to ISIS. Shortly thereafter, Kang was arrested by the FBI.


Attack at Egyptian Seaside Hotel Shows Vulnerability of Beach Resorts

In an attack that demonstrates the vulnerability of beach resorts, a man stabbed six female tourists at an Egyptian resort on the Red Sea (see photo) on July 14, killing two German women. There are conflicting reports on the nationalities of the other four victims, but none are reported to be Americans. The attacker reportedly stabbed four women at a hotel in Hurghada, then swam to a nearby beach and stabbed two other women at another resort before being subdued by staff members.
Details remain sketchy, but the Egyptian Interior Ministry says the suspect is in custody and is being interrogated, and the motive remains under investigation. Some witnesses say the man wanted to kill foreigners, and was shouting in Arabic, “Stay away, I don't want Egyptians.”

For additional information, see NJOHSP product, Beaches and Boardwalks: Vulnerable to Terrorism Abroad, available at www.njohsp.gov/analysis/beachesandboardwalks.


Iraq Update: Tough Fighting Still Ahead After Victory at Mosul

Speaking to reporters from Baghdad last week, shortly after the fall of Mosul to Iraqi security forces, Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, the commander of the US-led coalition, congratulated Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi and the Iraqi forces on their historic victory. He noted that the Iraqis prevailed in “the most extended and brutal combat I have ever witnessed,” and ISIS has lost its capital in Iraq and the largest city the group has ever held anywhere.
“Make no mistake,” he continued, “this victory alone does not eliminate ISIS, and there's still tough fighting ahead.” He said there are still pockets of resistance in Mosul and numerous explosive devices that will take weeks to clear, as well as remaining ISIS enclaves in Hawija (west of Kirkuk in northeastern Iraq) and in western Anbar Province (in western Iraq).

Lieutenant General Townsend said he could not confirm or deny where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is or whether he is alive or dead—although he said his “fervent hope is that it is the latter.”


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