” Three New York City residents — two with Uzbekistan citizenship, and one a citizen of Kazakhstan — plotted to travel to Syria to join ISIS militants and ‘wage jihad,’ the Justice Department announced on Wednesday”, according to Fox News.
One of the defendants also offered to kill the president of the United States if ordered to do so, the criminal complaint alleged.
The U.S. Department of Justice said there are Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, 24, a resident of Brooklyn and a citizen of Uzbekistan; Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19, a resident of Brooklyn and a citizen of Kazakhstan; and Abror Habibov, 30, a resident of Brooklyn and a citizen of Uzbekistan, who was arrested in Florida, where he appeared in a federal court.
Akhror Saidakhmetov was arrested at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, where he was attempting to board a flight to Istanbul. Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev had a ticket to travel to Istanbul next month and was arrested in Brooklyn.
” Saidakhmetov and Juraboev appeared in federal court in Brooklyn late Wednesday. Both were ordered held without bail on charges of attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization. During the arraignment Assistant US Attorney Douglas Pravda said both suspects confessed post-arrest that they wanted to travel to Syria to wage violent jihad”, Fox News reported.
According to officials, ” the two had hopes of joining the terror group and-if their travel plans were dashed– had intentions to commit terror in the U.S.”
In August, federal agents met with Juraboev and he spoke of his hopes of fighting with the terror group in Iraq or Syria, the complaint said. He also allegedly mentioned to the agents that he hoped to harm President Obama because of ‘Allah.’
According to the complaint, Saidakhmetov was recorded in January saying, “I will just go and buy a machine gun, AK-47, go out and shoot all police.””
Authorities have a recorded conversation where Saidakhmetov expressed interest in joining the U.S. military, the complaint said. He allegedly said he could offer information to Islamic militants or open fire on American troops to kill as many as possible.
“This is real,” New York Police Commissioner William Bratton told a news conference. “This is the concern about the lone wolf inspired to act without ever going to the Mideast, or the concern once they get to the Mideast to acquire fighting skills, capabilities and then attempt to return to the country.”
“We will vigorously prosecute those who attempt to travel to Syria to wage violent jihad on behalf of ISIL and those who support them,” U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement. “Anyone who threatens our citizens and our allies, here or abroad, will face the full force of American justice.”
Reuters reported that there are ISIS-related investigations in all 50 states.
Western officials estimate more than 20,000 foreigners have joined militant groups in Iraq and Syria in the last three years, with as many as 4,000 from Western Europe.