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US Fiancee of IS Fighter Pleads Guilty to Terror Charges

  • VOA News

Ana and John Conley, parents of defendant Shannon Conley, exit the U.S. Federal courthouse following their daughter's plea hearing, at the U.S. Federal Courthouse, in Denver, Sept. 10, 2014.

Ana and John Conley, parents of defendant Shannon Conley, exit the U.S. Federal courthouse following their daughter's plea hearing, at the U.S. Federal Courthouse, in Denver, Sept. 10, 2014.

The Internet fiancee of an alleged Islamic State fighter pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in the United States on Wednesday.

Nineteen-year-old Shannon Conley of Arvada, Colorado admitted to the court that she trained to aid jihadists in Syria, including the man she met online.

The teenager, who is a Muslim convert, attended a military-style training camp in the U.S., learned to shoot guns, and received a certificate in nursing to support Islamist fighters on the ground.

Federal agents made multiple attempts to dissuade her from traveling abroad. The FBI arrested Conley at a U.S. airport in April when she attempted to board a flight to Turkey.

Conley will be sentenced in January and faces up to five years in prison.

According to a criminal complaint filed with U.S. District Court in Colorado, Shannon Maureen Conley, born in 1996, attended military training with the U.S. Army Explorers earlier this year, before trying to fly to Syria to meet a co-conspirator only identified as Y.M.

Y.M., whom Conley met online last year, told her he was an active member in the insurgent group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIL or ISIS, which recently shortened its name to "Islamic State."

The Sunni Muslim militant group is an al-Qaida offshoot which wants to re-create a medieval-style caliphate from the Mediterranean to the Gulf and deems Shi'ite Muslims to be heretics deserving death.

Conley's case had been sealed until last Friday when a federal judge ordered most of the records made public. Some details, apparently including names and addresses, were redacted from the criminal complaint provided by federal officials on Wednesday.

Court documents said Conley and Y.M. shared a view of Islam "as requiring participation in violent jihad against any non-believers," and said they decided to get engaged.

Before traveling to Syria, the court papers said, Conley was to obtain additional skills and training to provide support to the insurgents, and to fight herself if deemed necessary.

Some material for this report came from Reuters.

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