WASHINGTON (AFP) – Two young American men, one of whom is in the Middle East fighting, have been charged with supporting the Islamic State group, the Justice Department said Tuesday.
Somali Americans Abdi Nur, 20, and Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, have been charged with “conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organisation, namely, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),” Assistant Attorney General John Carlin said.
Yusuf was to appear in court Tuesday in Minneapolis, where there is a large Somali American community.
Abdi Nur, who travelled May 29 to Turkey, through which many extremists pass en route to fight with IS, was to have returned to the United States June 16 but did not, the statement added.
“More than 16,000 recruits from over 90 countries travelled 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 organisations,” 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 US 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.
The Islamic State organisation emerged in Syria’s war in spring 2013.
The extremists proclaimed a “caliphate” in June after seizing swathes of Iraq and Syria.