Ethan Phelan Melzer Allegedly Plotted Mass Casualty Attack On His Own Unit

 In Military

A US Soldier plotted a mass casualty attack on his own unit.  Pvt. Ethan Phelan Melzer, 22, (aka “Etil Reggad”) was charged on Monday in the Southern District of New York with (1) conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals (2) attempted murder of U.S. nationals; (3) conspiracy to murder U.S. military service members; (4) attempted murder of U.S. military service members; (5) provision and attempted provision of  material support to terrorists; and (6) conspiracy to murder and maim in a foreign country. [Law and Crime]

“Melzer said that he intended the planned attack to result in the deaths of as many of his fellow service members as possible. Melzer also declared himself to be a traitor against the United States, and described his conduct as tantamount to treason…Melzer allegedly attempted to orchestrate a murderous ambush on his own unit by unlawfully revealing its location, strength and armaments to the neo-Nazi group, intending that the information would be conveyed to jihadist terrorists.” Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss 

The full indictment can be read at this link.

Melzer joined the Army in 2018 through the delayed-entry program. He began his term of active enlistment in June of 2019. The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vincenza Italy assisted in the investigation. He deployed overseas in October of 2019, and arrived at the 173rd in November of last year. In April of 2020, he was notified of a pending deployment to Turkey.

The Daily Mail reported

Federal prosecutors allege that on or around May 23, Melzer used an encrypted messaging app to ‘solicit assistance for a mass casualty attack on his US Army unit once it deployed to Turkey.’

Melzer is alleged to have ‘provided confidential and sensitive information to a user of the app about his unit’s size, anticipated travel routes in Turkey, its weaponry, and its defensive capabilities.

Federal prosecutors say Melzer understood that this information would be used to ‘facilitate’ a ‘mass casualty attack’ on the unit.

The Federal government used a Confidential Informant in their investigation.

Military.com reported,

In 2019, DOJ officials state in the release, Melzer joined O9A, a group whose members and supporters have espoused violent neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic and satanic beliefs and have expressed admiration for both Nazis, such as Adolf Hitler, and Islamic jihadists, such as former al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden, who was killed in May 2011 when U.S. special operations forces raided his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Melzer deployed abroad with the Army in October and was preparing for another deployment in April 2020 when he “sought to facilitate a deadly attack on his fellow service members,” according to the release.

Melzer used an encrypted application to send messages to members and associates of O9A and a related group known as the “RapeWaffen Division,” including communications regarding his own commitment to O9A and sensitive information related to his unit’s anticipated deployment, the release states.

Melzer and his alleged co-conspirators planned what they referred to as a “jihadi attack” during the deployment, with the objective of causing a “mass casualty” event victimizing his fellow service members, according to the release.

Melzer acknowledged in electronic communications that he could be killed during the attack. Describing his willingness to die, he wrote, “Who gives a f—,” the release states.

“It would be another war … I would’ve died successfully … ’cause another 10-year war in the Middle East would definitely leave a mark,” Melzer said, according to the release.

He allegedly began leaking information on his deployment to the neo-nazi group, hoping to create another war, and cause as many casualties as possible.

He faces life in prison for conspiring to murder U.S. nationals; conspiring to murder U.S. military service members; and conspiring to murder and maim in a foreign country. He faces 20 years fot attempting to murder Amreican nationals, another 20 years for attempted murder of military members, and 15 years for providing aid to terrorists.

Featured photo courtesy of  US Attorney, SDNY

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