A Texas man is facing charges of threatening an attack on the University of Houston after he "Zoom-bombed" an online class and praised the Islamic State (ISIS) group, the Justice Department said Tuesday, according to AFP.
Ibraheem Ahmed Al Bayati, 19, disrupted the lecture which was held online via Zoom last Wednesday.
When he got a chance to speak, Bayati said, "What does any of this have to do with the fact that UH is about to get bombed in a few days?" drawing gasps from the other students, according to an indictment.
He then said twice an Arabic phrase that means, "Islamic State will remain," and pointed his index finger toward the sky, a gesture common with Islamic fundamentalists.
Bayati admitted his acts on Friday after he was tracked by his online IP address and arrested by FBI agents at a relative's house, according to AFP.
But he told agents it was just a joke, showing them text messages from a friend which included a link to the Zoom class.
Investigators, however, further searched his phone and found communications with another friend in which Bayati discussed recruiting supporters of ISIS, which the United States has designated a terror organization.
Bayati discussed getting another person to pledge allegiance to Islamic State and told his friend "that he was 'literally known' as an ISIS recruiter," the charges said.
He was charged with two counts related to making a bomb threat against the university, with a possible total of 15 years in prison.
Since 2013, American prosecutors have charged hundreds of radicalized individuals, mostly with crimes related to support for ISIS.
In December of 2019, a Connecticut man was arrested after attempting to travel to the Middle East to join and fight for ISIS.
In July of that year, two refugees from Somalia were arrested in Arizona and accused of providing material support to ISIS.
A month earlier, a man was arrested after he discussed purchasing explosives with the intention of detonating them in New York's Times Square.