U.S. federal prosecutors have charged two young American men from Minnesota, one of whom is in the Middle East fighting, with supporting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant.
Somali Americans Abdi Nur, 20, and Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, were charged with “conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, namely, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS),” Assistant Attorney General John Carlin said.
Abdi Nur, who traveled on May 29 to Turkey, through which many Islamist militant pass en route to fight with ISIS, was to have returned to the United States on June 16 but did not, the statement added.
Yusuf was arrested on his way to school at Inver Hills Community College. His attorney argued for his release during a Tuesday hearing in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, noting he had been going to school and work despite knowing for months that he was under investigation. But a magistrate judge ordered him held until a detention hearing Wednesday.
“More than 16,000 recruits from over 90 countries traveled to Syria to become foreign terrorist fighters with alarming consequences,” said Carlin.
“This is a global crisis and we will continue our efforts to prevent Americans from joining the fight and to hold accountable those who provide material support to foreign terrorist organizations,” he added. “With these two defendants, we have now charged more than 15 individuals with offenses related to the foreign fighter threat in Syria.”
Yusuf in Minneapolis sought an expedited U.S. passport for his trip to Turkey, but could not give an itinerary or explain the source of his funds for his trip, as he was unemployed, authorities said.
Yusuf’s parents – who authorities said didn’t know about their son’s plans – attended Tuesday’s court hearing but declined to speak to The Associated Press.
ISIS emerged in Syria’s war in the spring of 2013.
The militants proclaimed a “caliphate” in June after seizing swathes of Iraq and Syria.