Three men accused of plotting to travel to Syria to join ISIS against the United States have been arrested on terrorism charges

February 26, 2015 10:12 am

Three men accused of plotting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic
State group and wage war against the United States have been arrested on
charges, including one who spoke of attacking President
Barack Obama or planting a bomb on Coney Island, federal officials say.
The
arrests come as US officials have expressed alarm at the idea that
Americans could travel to Syria to fight alongside (Islamic State)
or train there and return to the United States to carry out attacks
against the homeland.

This image was posted on a militant social media account by the Al-Baraka division of the Islamic State group. Photo / AP
This image was posted on a militant social media account by the Al-Baraka division of the Islamic State group. Photo / AP

There have been more than 20 arrests in the
US in the last year of people trying to travel to Syria to join the
Islamic State or other extremist groups.
On Wednesday,
authorities said that Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19, was arrested at Kennedy
Airport, New York City, where he was attempting to board a flight to
Istanbul.

Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, 24, had a ticket to travel to
Istanbul next month and was arrested in Brooklyn, New York City, and
Abror Habibov, 30, accused of helping fund Saidakhmetov’s efforts, was
arrested in Florida.
Saidakhmetov is a Brooklyn resident and
citizen of Kazakhstan. Juraboev and Habibov are residents of Brooklyn
and citizens of Uzbekistan.
They are charged with attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organisation.
If convicted, each faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
Habibov
appeared in federal court in Jacksonville, Florida, and was appointed a
public defender. It was unclear if the two other men had attorneys who
could comment on the charges.
They were scheduled to appear in federal court in Brooklyn later on Wednesday.
Federal
prosecutors say Juraboev first came to the attention of law enforcement
in August, when he posted on an Uzbek-language website that propagates
the Islamic State ideology.
“Greetings! We too want to pledge our
allegiance and commit ourselves while not present there,” he wrote,
according to federal authorities.
“Is it possible to commit ourselves as dedicated martyrs anyway while here?”
Officials said they believed he planned to travel from Turkey to Syria to join the terror group.
Prosecutors say Saidakhmetov also threatened an attack in the US if he was unable to join the Islamic State.
Juraboev’s plans included attacks against Obama or planting a bomb on Coney Island, officials said.
Federal officials say Juraboev identified Saidakhmetov as a friend and co-worker with a shared ideology.
The
two exchanged messages on how to get overseas, and Saidakhmetov and an
informant watched videos of Islamic State training camps in Syria,
according to court papers.
Habibov operates kiosks that repair
phones and sell kitchenware in malls in Jacksonville, Florida; Savannah,
Georgia; and Philadelphia.
He employed Saidakhmetov last fall
and winter and said he would help fund his travel, though he did not
mention a specific sum of money, prosecutors said.
The two were spotted in Brooklyn purchasing a ticket for Saidakhmetov to travel to Turkey, officials said.
The
Islamic State group largely consists of Sunni militants from Iraq and
Syria but has also drawn fighters from across the Muslim world and
Europe.

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