WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A 20-year-old Minnesota woman was charged on Tuesday with stealing a friend’s passport to travel to Syria, the US Attorney’s office said.
The criminal complaint alleged that Yusra Ismail, of St. Paul, used the stolen US passport to fly to Amsterdam and Norway last August.
She contacted her family several days later and told them she was in “Sham,” a term used to describe the area controlled by Islamic State, the militant group that has captured territory in Syria and Iraq and carried out gruesome executions of civilians and foreigners.
Prosecutors said there is no record of Ismail, who is not a US citizen, returning to the United States. She had booked a return ticket, according to the complaint, but there is no record of any traveler using that ticket.
US authorities for years have been concerned about the number of young Somali-Americans traveling from the Minneapolis area, which has a large community of Somali expatriates, to join al Shabaab, a militant al-Qaeda affiliate based in Somalia.