Minnesota Man Charged With Planning to Join Daesh

U.S. prosecutors say that since 2007, dozens of people from Minnesota have traveled or attempted to travel overseas to support militant groups like Daesh. REUTERS/Craig Lassig

By Alex Dobuzinskis

Dec 9 – A Minnesota man was charged on Wednesday as the tenth person in an alleged conspiracy that encouraged young Somali-American men to travel overseas to join militant group Daesh and he planned to make the trip himself, court papers showed.

Since 2007, U.S. prosecutors say, dozens of people from Minnesota, many young Somali-American men among them, have traveled or attempted to travel overseas to support Daesh or Al Shabaab, a Somalia-based militant group.

Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame was arrested on Wednesday, according to jail records in Anoka County, where he is being held. Warsame, 20, is from Eagan, a community just south of Minneapolis, local media say.

It was not clear if Warsame had secured an attorney and he could not be reached for comment.

The criminal complaint filed in federal court said Warsame was one of several young men from Minnesota’s Somali-American community who last year began conspiring to travel to Syria to fight with Daesh, which controls large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria.

Three have pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to the militant group and five are awaiting trial, while a ninth man was charged, but not arrested, and remains in Syria, the complaint says.

It names Warsame as the tenth person in the conspiracy to join Daesh, which has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris that killed 130 people last month.

Warsame was one of a group of young men who gathered at a mosque to play basketball and watch videos glorifying violence by extremists, the 16-page complaint says.

In spring 2014, Warsame was appointed their so-called emir and encouraged those with passports and money to travel to Syria, giving $200 to one man to hasten a passport application, according to the complaint.

Warsame, in a tape-recorded conversation with two members of the conspiracy and an individual who agreed to secretly help the FBI, said in April that he planned to travel to Somalia and then to Syria to join Daesh, the complaint added.

Warsame had been denied an expedited passport because of conflicting statements made during the application, it said.

The complaint did not say what Warsame had done since April, and a representative of the FBI in Minneapolis could not be reached for comment late on Wednesday.

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