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Two California Men Convicted of Conspiring to Join Islamic State

  • VOA News

Muhanad Badawi, 25, is pictured during an interview with the FBI after his arrest, May 21, 2015.

Muhanad Badawi, 25, is pictured during an interview with the FBI after his arrest, May 21, 2015.

Two California men have been convicted after a two-week trial of conspiring to travel to the Middle East to join the militant group Islamic State.

Nader Elhuzayel from Anaheim, California, was found guilty of attempting to provide material support to Islamic State, and Muhanad Badawi, also from Anaheim, was found guilty of aiding and abetting the attempt to provide material support to Islamic State.

Elhuzayel was also convicted of 26 counts of bank fraud, including depositing stolen checks into his personal account to finance his travel. Badawi was convicted of using his federal financial aid to purchase a one way ticket for Elhuzayel to travel to Israel, with a layover in Istanbul.

Elhuzayel was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport in May 2015, where he was planning to take a plane to Tel Aviv. According to the allegations in the complaint, Elhuzayel admitted "that he planned to disembark in Istanbul to join ISIL and did not intend to travel on to Israel."

Twenty-five year-old Elhuzayel faces a maximum of 30 years in prison for bank fraud. Badawi faces a maximum of five years for bank fraud, and each of the men may serve an additional 15 years in prison for conspiring to provide material support to ISIL.

Their sentencing hearings have been scheduled for September.

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