Three arrested in NY, Florida on charges they plotted to go to Syria to join Islamic State

Three men accused of plotting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State and wage war against the United States were arrested on terrorism charges Wednesday, federal officials said.

NEW YORK — Three men accused of plotting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State and wage war against the United States were arrested on terrorism charges Wednesday, federal officials said.

Akhror Saidakhmetov, a Brooklyn resident and citizen of Kazakhstan, was arrested at Kennedy International Airport, where he was attempting to board a flight to Istanbul, authorities said. Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, a resident of Brooklyn and citizen of Uzbekistan, had a ticket to travel to Istanbul next month and was arrested in Brooklyn, federal prosecutors said. Abror Habibov, 30, accused of helping fund Saidakhmetov’s efforts, was arrested in Florida.

They are charged with attempt and conspiracy to provide material support. If convicted, each faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

The men were in custody, and it was not clear if they had attorneys who could comment on the charges. They were scheduled to appear in federal court later Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors say Juraboev, 24, 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 he, along with Saidakhmetov, 19, also threatened an attack in the U.S. if they were unable to join the Islamic State. Juraboev’s plans included attacks against President Barack Obama or planting a bomb on 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.

Habibov operates kiosks that repair phones and sell kitchenware in malls in Jacksonville, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; and Philadelphia. He employed Saidakhmetov last fall and winter and said he would help fund his travel, though he did not mention a specific sum of money, prosecutors said. The two were spotted in Brooklyn purchasing a ticket for Saidakhmetov to travel to Turkey, officials said.

The Islamic State group largely consists of Sunni militants from Iraq and Syria but has also drawn fighters from across the Muslim world and Europe.

Federal 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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta announces 98 new cases of COVID-19

City of Red Deer has no COVID-19-related deaths

The Red Deer Public Market will not open next month

It’s being postponed indefinitely to reduce public gatherings

Women’s Fun Run is ‘re-imagined’ for May 9

Families can register for free and do any activity at home

WATCH: Red Deer emergency call centre hours change starting next week

Hours at the City of Red Deer’s COVID-19 emergency call centre will… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

David Marsden: Hospital parking should always be free

If you need to visit a patient at a hospital or other… Continue reading

Woman scared for brother in Calgary long-term care home with COVID-19 deaths

Woman scared for brother in Calgary long-term care home with COVID-19 deaths

Person connected to Red Deer College tests positive for COVID-19

‘I wish this individual well,’ says president

COVID-19 crisis distracting from flood-prone First Nation’s plight: NDP

COVID-19 crisis distracting from flood-prone First Nation’s plight: NDP

Judge sides with woman accused of spying for Russia, orders new hearing

Judge sides with woman accused of spying for Russia, orders new hearing

Ont. court upholds murder conviction in death of girl found in burning suitcase

Ont. court upholds murder conviction in death of girl found in burning suitcase

Most Read