Two college students from Minnesota are charged with trying to join the Islamic State group, ABC News reported Tuesday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation caught one of the Minneapolis men after being alerted by a passport office.
Abdullah Yusuf, 18, purchased a plane ticket to Turkey after he opened a checking account at a bank with a $1,500 deposit. FBI agents apparently saw Yusuf ditch school to go to the airport.
When he was arrested Tuesday, he denied any wrongdoing. “I never committed no terrorist crimes that you’re accusing me of,” he said, according to ABC, when told authorities believed he was going to Syria to join the terrorist group also known as ISIS or ISIL. Yusuf was arraigned later Tuesday in Minneapolis federal court, KMSP-TV, St. Paul, reported.
Investigators had been watching him for months after he went to get a passport in April for a planned trip to Istanbul. The fact he was going by himself with no apparent finances and he became anxious when asked about the nature of his trip led the passport office to contact the FBI since "the passport specialist found his interaction with Yusuf so unusual," the affidavit said, according to CNN. After the tip, he was put under observation by the FBI.
Through Yusuf, it was discovered another man, Abdi Nur, 20, left for Turkey the same day Yusuf was approached by the FBI, ABC said. He apparently used Yusuf’s car to travel to the airport, and authorities found incriminating evidence in the car, CNN wrote. Investigators talked to Nur’s family, who said he had become much more involved in religion recently and said online he was “not coming back” after he left to be with his “brothers,” according to ABC News.
Nur, who is believed to be in Syria now, was charged in absentia, KMSP reported. They were both charged with “conspiracy to provide material support,” CNN added.
"As charged, these two young men conspired to join ISIL and travel from Minnesota to the Middle East to engage in a campaign of terror," Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin said in a statement Tuesday.
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