U.S. officials in Minnesota charged six men Monday for attempting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State militant group.
According to a criminal complaint unsealed Monday, the men, all members of Minnesota's Somali-American community are charged with conspiring to provide and attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
The complaint names Mohamed Farah, Adnan Farah, Abdirahman Daud, Guled Omar, Hanad Musse and Zacharia Abdurahman. It alleges they were in contact with another Minnesota man, Abdi Nur, who has worked to recruit Western fighters.
“The six defendants charged in the complaint allegedly planned to travel to Syria as part of their conspiracy to provide material support to ISIL,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “One of the National Security Division’s highest priorities is to identify, disrupt, and hold accountable those who provide or attempt to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations. I would like to thank the many agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this investigation and the charges in this case.”
The complaint says the men sought to reach countries near Syria by flying from the airports in San Diego and New York City, but were stopped.
“Even when their co-conspirators were caught and charged, they continued to seek new and creative ways to leave Minnesota to fight for a terror group. I applaud the hard work and tireless efforts of the FBI Minneapolis Division and their colleagues around the country," added U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger of the District of Minnesota.
A U.S. Justice Department statement said at least nine Minnesotans have now been charged "as part of this conspiracy to provide material support to ISIL." adding that they are all "alleged associates and friends of one another."
Minnesota’s Somali community previously grappled with the issue of young people joining terrorist groups between 2007 and 2010, when about two dozen men traveled to Somalia to join the al-Shabab militant group.
At least two of them were involved in suicide missions in the country, while several of them were killed in battle.
Meanwhile, authorities in New York sentenced a man to 25 years in prison for attempting to Join al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
Marcos Alonso Zea, aka "Ali Zea", a U.S. citizen who lives in Brentwood, New York pleaded guilty on September 9, 2014 to attempting to privide material support to a foreign terrorist organization a Department of Justice statement said.
"Marcos Alonso Zea presents a chilling reminder of the danger presented to the United States by homegrown terrorists," U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch said. "Born, raised and schooled in the United States, the defendant betrayed his country by attempting to join al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, assisting a co-conspirator's attempt to join that terrorist group, and, after learning he was under investigation, attempting to destroy evidence of his guilt."
According to the statement, Zea's co-conspirator, Kaliebe pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to provide material support to terrorists and one count of attempting to provide material support to AQAP after his arrest in January 2013.
Some material for this report cam from AP.