US soldier accused of conspiring to provoke jihadist attack on his unit

A US soldier linked to a satanic and neo-Nazi group conspired for Islamic extremists to attack his unit in Turkey, hoping to unleash a new war in the Middle East, according to a Justice Department indictment known Monday.

The file, opened in New York, says Ethan Phelan Melzer, 22, a member of the United States Army, was serving in Vincenza, Italy, waiting to be mobilized to Turkey, when he disclosed detailed information about the movements of his Unit.

Melzer released the data to an FBI informant because he believed that person had ties to jihadist groups.

In online forums of the Order of Nine Angles, also known as O9A, a neo-Nazi and satanic group, he detailed the location and planned weaponry of his unit in Turkey, and suggested that the attackers could easily overcome that force, according to the accusation.

The soldier, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, stressed that he supported a “jihadist” attack on his group, and that if it materialized he could die.

“It would be a successful death,” the soldier told the informant. “Another ten-year war in the Middle East would definitely leave a mark,” he added.

Melzer was accused of conspiring against his unitmates and supporting a terrorist group.

According to the Justice Department document, Melzer joined the military in 2018 and has been a part of the O9A since at least early 2019.

After his arrest, “Melzer declared himself a traitor against the United States, and described his own conduct as equivalent to treason,” the Department said in a statement.

If found guilty, the soldier could be sentenced to life in prison.

pmh / mdl / piz