Wisconsin man pleads guilty to supporting Islamic State

October 20, 2016 3:42 PM EDT

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By Gina Cherelus

(Reuters) - A Wisconsin man who had traveled to Turkey and Syria in 2014 to join the Islamic State militant group has pleaded guilty of attempting to support to a terrorist organization, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.

Joshua Van Haften, 34, of Madison, Wisconsin, admitted that he was fully aware that the group, also known by the acronyms ISIL and ISIS, had engaged in terrorism, U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil said in a statement.

Van Haften's attorney, Joseph Bugni, with Federal Defender Services of Wisconsin, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Van Haften was arrested at O'Hare Airport in Chicago in April 2015 and has been held in federal custody since then. He had been in the custody of Turkish immigration authorities since October 2014.

Van Haften's sentencing is scheduled for February. He faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.

According to Thursday's statement, Van Haften wrote online explaining that he had taken an oath of allegiance to the leader of ISIL and "the only thing that matters to me is joining my brothers for the war against America."

(Reporting by Gina Cherelus; Editing by Richard Chang)

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