U.S. man charged with aiding IS

Mufid Elfgeeh   | Photo Credit: Monroe County Sheriff's Office

A Yemen-born naturalised citizen of the U.S. was slapped with a seven-count indictment on Tuesday, for attempting to provide material support to the jihadist militant group Islamic State, and for the attempted murder of members of the U.S. military.

The indictment of Mufid Elfgeeh (30) of Rochester, New York, by a federal grand jury was announced by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and included charges relating to the possession of firearms equipped with silencers “in furtherance of a crime of violence.”

Elfgeeh’s plot to support IS, which controls swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria and recently faced worldwide condemnation for beheading two American journalists and a Briton, appeared to have been unravelled by a sting operation led by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to court documents, Elfgeeh planned to extend financial and logistical assistance to IS, and also intended to “shoot and kill members of the U.S. military who had returned from Iraq.”

The charging of Elfgeeh, whose case revives concerns here that a growing number of U.S. citizens were joining the cohorts of foreign fighters flocking to the ranks of IS, came after he first discussed the idea of shooting U.S. military members in December 2013 and said to a “confidential source,” that he was thinking about getting a gun and ammunition, putting on a bulletproof vest, and “just go[ing] around and start shooting.”

In addition to the weapons-related charges, the allegations against Elfgeeh include the charge that in 2013 and early 2014 he encouraged two confidential sources to travel overseas to engage in “violent jihad,” and sent $600 to an individual in Yemen to help that person travel from Yemen to Syria for jihadi warfare alongside IS.

Elfgeeh’s arrest, on May 31, 2014, came after one confidential source accepted $1,050 in cash from Elfgeeh and delivered to him the two handguns equipped with silencers and ammunition that he had requested.

As soon as he took possession of the weapons, which the FBI made inoperable before the handover, the Rochester Joint Terrorism Task Force moved in to apprehend him.

 “We will remain aggressive in identifying and disrupting those who seek to provide support to ISIL and other terrorist groups that are bent on inflicting harm upon Americans,” said Attorney General Holder, using an alternative acronym for the jihadist group.

He added, “As this case shows… we are focused on breaking up these activities on the front end, before supporters of ISIL can make good on plans to travel to the region or recruit sympathisers to this cause.”

The material support charges each carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, the attempted murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, the firearms possession charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years and a maximum of life in prison, and the firearm silencer charges each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, the U.S. Department of Justice noted.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 8:08:08 PM |

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