To the Kurdish peshmerga forces patrolling northern Iraq in March 2016, Mohamad Khweis looked for all the world like an Islamic State suicide bomber. They certainly didn't peg him as a bus driver from the wealthy suburbs of Washington, D.C.
As they saw him approach from the stretch of no-man's land separating the Islamic State from Kurdish-controlled sections of Iraq, they fired warning shots in the air. They ordered him to strip to his underwear. They confiscated his cash and his canned fish, thinking it might be a bomb.
They were surprised to find out he was an American, carrying a Virginia driver's license. U.S. officials were surprised as well â€” they had no idea Khweis had left Virginia to travel to the Islamic State.
Now Khweis, 27, is scheduled to go on trial Tuesday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, for providing material support to a terrorist organization.