Two men were arrested Wednesday in New York City on charges of plotting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group, while a third man was arrested in Florida accused of helping to fund the efforts of one of them.
The three are accused of being part of a plan to wage war against the U.S. and federal officials said one of them spoke of attacking President Barack Obama and of planting a bomb in Brooklyn.
The arrests come as U.S. officials have expressed alarm at the idea that Americans could travel to Syria to fight alongside the Islamic State or train there and return to the United States to carry out attacks against the homeland. There have been more than 20 arrests in the U.S. in the last year of people trying to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State or other extremist groups.
“The flow of foreign fighters to Syria represents an evolving threat to our country and to our allies,” said state U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, who is Obama’s choice to be U.S. attorney general.
Former NYPD detective Thomas Ruskin discusses NY ISIL arrests
CCTV America’s Mike Walter interviewed Former detective investigator with New York Police Department Thomas Ruskin. He currently serves as President at CMP Protective and Investigative group. Ruskin discussed Wednesday’s ISIL arrests in Brooklyn, New York.
Former NYPD detective Thomas Ruskin discusses NY ISIL arrestsCCTV America's Mike Walter interviewed Former detective investigator with New York Police Department Thomas Ruskin. He currently serves as President at CMP Protective and Investigative group. Ruskin discussed Wednesday’s ISIL arrests in Brooklyn, New York.
On Wednesday, according to authorities:
— Akhror Saidakhmetov, a 19-year-old Brooklyn resident and citizen of Kazakhstan, was arrested at Kennedy Airport, where he was attempting to board a flight to Istanbul, Turkey.
— Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, a 24-year-old Brooklyn resident and citizen of Uzbekistan, had a ticket to travel to Istanbul next month and was arrested in Brooklyn.
— Abror Habibov, 30, accused of helping fund Saidakhmetov’s efforts, was arrested in Florida. He lives in Brooklyn and is an Uzbek citizen.
They are charged with attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization. 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 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 U.S. if he was unable to join the Islamic State. Juraboev’s plans included attacks against Obama or planting a bomb on Brooklyn’s 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.
Saidakhmetov told the informant in September that he wanted to travel to Syria for jihad, or holy war, but that his mother had concerns about that and confiscated his passport so he couldn’t travel, the complaint said. He said he would lie and tell her he planned to go to Uzbekistan to visit relatives in hopes of getting his passport back. When he called to ask for it, she hung up the phone.
Story compiled with information from AP reports.