An upstate New York man was indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday for allegedly seeking to aid the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), as well as murder U.S. soldiers returning home.
Mufid Elfgeeh, 30, of Rochester, N.Y., was charged with three counts of attempting to provide material support and resources to the Iraq- and Syria-based terrorist group, one count of attempted murder of current and former members of the U.S. military, and three counts of weapons-related offenses, according to the Justice Department.
“We will remain aggressive in identifying and disrupting those who seek to provide support to [ISIS] and other terrorist groups that are bent on inflicting harm upon Americans,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, in a statement.
“We are focused on breaking up these activities on the front end, before supporters of [ISIS] can make good on plans to travel to the region or recruit sympathizers to this cause,” he said.
The U.S. government has been aggressively seeking to stop Americans from joining ISIS, which has seen considerable success in courting extremist foreigners, especially from the Middle East, but also from the U.S. and Europe.
President Barack Obama is expected to chair a U.N. Security Council meeting on Sept. 24, at which member states will adopt a resolution mandating that all nations criminalize the act of attempting to join or in any way aid a foreign terrorist organization, Reuters reports.
Federal investigators contend that Elfgeeh sought to help two people, who were cooperating with the FBI, to travel to Syria to fight with ISIS. Elfgeeh also sent $600 to someone in Yemen to help with travel arrangements to Syria, where that person planned to join ISIS, investigators allege.
In December 2013, Elfgeeh also allegedly told one of the FBI’s sources that he was thinking he would “just go[ing] around and start shooting” at returned members of the U.S. armed forces. Two months later, Elfgeeh allegedly gave the source $1,050 in cash and arranged to collect two handguns, plus ammunition and silencers, in the spring, investigators say. Government officials had made the guns inoperable before selling them to Elfgeeh, investigators said.
On May 31, 2014, just after Elfgeeh took the guns, the Rochester Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested him, the federal government said.