Six men have been arrested on terrorism charges in two states, accused in elaborate attempts to travel toSyria and join the ranks of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, federal authorities said Monday.
The charges were announced by Minnesota U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger, who said the group sought to join the terrorist organization for the past 10 months “by any means possible.”
Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, Adnan Farah and Hanad Mustafe Musse, all 19, and Guled Ali Omar, 20, were arrested in Minneapolis Sunday. Abdirahman Yasin Daud and Mohamed Abdihamid Farah, both 21, were arrested Sunday in California after driving from Minneapolis to San Diego.
The arrests follow a string of recent ISIL-related cases, charging men and women throughout the country with various attempts to join the group or carry out attacks in the name of the terror organization.
At least nine Minnesotans have now been charged in connection with a conspiracy to provide material support to ISIL, the Justice Department said. And since 2007, about two dozen Somali men have traveled from Minnesota to Somalia to join the terror group al-Shabab.
“To be clear, we have a terror recruiting problem in Minnesota,” Luger said.
Luger described a difficult-to-penetrate “peer to peer, brother to brother” recruiting effort in the city where there is a large Somali community.
The alleged efforts of the six charged Monday were outlined in a 31-page federal complaint in which some in the group variously sought to disguise their real itineraries by traveling on some U.S. legs of their trips by bus and car. To hide their overseas destinations, some bought airline tickets to Bulgaria, Greece and Spain, with stop-overs in Instanbul, a popular staging area for foreign fighters.
But the FBI did have one advantage: one in their number had–unknown to the others–become an informant for the bureau and began reporting on the group’s plans through last week.