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March 27, 2015

10 People Linked To Islamic Extremism Cases In Illinois Since 2012

Hasan Edmonds and Jonas Edmonds

Court sketch of Hasan and Jonas Edmonds

Hasan and Jonas Edmonds, arrested yesterday for conspiring to travel abroad to join the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) and orchestrate an attack in the U.S., are the 9th and 10th people from Illinois linked to Islamic extremist activity since 2012.

Hasan Edmonds, a 22-year-old convert to Islam and a member of the National Guard, and his cousin, 29-year-old Jonas (Yunus) Edmonds told undercover investigators that they wanted to travel to ISIS-controlled territory with their families and become fighters but that, failing that, they wanted to attack the U.S. When Jonas Edmonds was unable to acquire a passport because of a past felony conviction, Hasan Edmonds continued his own travel plans while assisting Jonas in getting materials for and planning an attack on the military base where Hasan trained.

According to court documents, Hasan posted pro-ISIS statements and YouTube videos on his Facebook profile. He and Jonas were also vocal about their plans and beliefs in conversations with an undercover agent whom they met online. “Honestly we would love to do something like the brother in Paris did,” wrote Hasan Edmonds, in a reference to the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and kosher grocery store in Paris this January. “Hit here and then go to dawlah (ISIS controlled territory) inshaAllah (God willing). We’ll fight wherever need be…. Shahada (martyrdom) is a blessing.” In other conversations, he stated, “If I find myself stuck here [in the U.S.]. I intend to take advantage of being so close to the kuffar (apostates, used here to indicate non-Muslims),” and, “The best of mankind are the mujahideen (fighters). May Allah place me among their ranks.”

In speaking of planning an attack, he wrote, “We can surely do something. Even the kaffirs (apostates) here are fighting the police and government so we can really strick (sic) harder in tue (sic) cause of Allah,” and, “It would be hard to pull off a lager (sic) scale attack on the government but police stations and courts are pretty easy and its been done before by kufar (apostates) sometimes just one person.”

The cousins’ statements also attest to the effectiveness of ISIS’s recent strategy of developing worldwide franchises. “When the women are under the protection of the dawlah (ISIS) under any province under the dawlahs rule (any country) we are ready for whatever our orders may be,” Hasan Edmonds told an undercover agent according to court documents. In another context he allegedly stated, “I am fine being in Egypt, Sham, or Libya to be honest akhi (brother, meaning companion). I just want to answer the call.”

Groups including Ansar Beyt al Maqdis in Egypt and Boko Haram in Nigeria have pledged allegiance to ISIS in recent months, and ISIS strives to create the impression that it has a global presence in its propaganda.

ISIS has also been encouraging its adherents to either undertake domestic attacks or travel abroad in recent months.

This message has been reflected in the actions of its supporters. In 2015, the Edmonds plot is the third instance of ISIS supporters in the U.S. planning a domestic attack after unsuccessfully attempting to join ISIS. In January, Ohio resident Christopher Lee Cornell was arrested for his plot to attack the U.S. capitol after failing to connect with ISIS members abroad and in February, New York City residents Abdura­sul Juraboev and Akhror Saidakhme­tov were arrested for attempting to join ISIS and discussing the possibility of a domestic attack if they were unable to do so. In addition, 2015 has seen 13 U.S. residents (including the Edmonds cousins) charged with material support for ISIS.

33 U.S. residents have been publicly linked to ISIS since 2014.

Other Illinois residents accused of attempting to aid foreign terrorist organizations or carry out terror attacks in the U.S.  include Jamishid Muhtorov, arrested in 2012 for providing material support to the Chechen terror group Islamic Jihad Union; Abdel Daoud, arrested in 2012 for planning a domestic attack; Abdellah Tounisi, arrested in 2013 for attempting to join Jabhat al Nusra; Mohammed Hamza Khan and his brother and sister, detained in 2014 for attempted to join ISIS (Khan’s brother and sister are minors and have not been charged); and Mediha Medy Salkicevic and Jasminka Ramic, arrested in 2015 for attempting to send money to ISIS.

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March 18, 2015

NJ Man Arrested For Trying to Join ISIS Espoused Anti-Semitism Online

Tairod Pugh

Tairod Pugh

A New Jersey man, indicted yesterday for attempting to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), marks the 12th U.S. resident charged with supporting or joining Islamic extremism this year and demonstrates the presence of anti-Semitism and role of online propaganda in the radicalization process.

Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh is a U.S. citizen and former air force mechanic from Neptune, NJ. He allegedly attempted to travel to join ISIS in January but was detained and sent back to the U.S. by Egyptian officials. Pugh was arrested on January 16, 2015, upon his return to the U.S., but the charges were made public following yesterday’s indictment.

Pugh’s Facebook profile included multiple anti-Semitic and anti-Israel posts as well as posts supporting Hamas.

In July 2014, Pugh wrote a post that stated, in part, “All the evil done by the Jews came from within themselves. On the day of Judgment full responsibility of the starving, torture, jailing and killing of innocent Muslims will rest upon there (sic) shoulders. Allah must really hate them to give the rope to hang themselves,” and posted an image with text stating, “Most Jews do not like to admit it, but our G-d is Lucifer.” In August 2014, he shared an image that referenced blood libel accusations, depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slitting the throats of sleeping children.

Pugh also posted several cartoons equating Jews, Israel or Zionists to Nazis, as well as multiple images claiming to depict Israeli war crimes.

An anti-Semitic post on Tairod Pugh's Facebook page.

An anti-Semitic post on Tairod Pugh’s Facebook page.

Although Pugh did not publicly post his support for ISIS, he did share a quote by terror propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki in August 2014. Awlaki is frequently cited as an inspiration for extremism by Americans who have been linked to terrorism.

Pugh allegedly also used his computer to research joining ISIS and watch ISIS propaganda videos. An investigation reportedly found that he had used the internet to search for the terms, “borders controlled by Islamic state,” “who controls kobani (a city that has been contested by ISIS),” “kobani border crossing,” and “jarablus border crossing,” and the feature-film length terror propaganda video “Flames of War,” which depicts and apocalyptic struggle between ISIS and the West. He had also allegedly viewed a chart of crossing points between Turkey and Syria and had downloaded at least one ISIS execution video, along with other ISIS videos.

Additional Facebook posts by Pugh demonstrated anti-U.S. sentiment. One post from August 2014, taken from Iranian controlled media outlet Press TV, depicted protesters burning an effigy of President Barack Obama. A post earlier that month included an article that Pugh wrote describing “the rape of a Muslim woman by the American forces.” According to media reports, some Facebook posts not publicly available also expressed Pugh’s desire to never return to the U.S.

Pugh also shared images praising the terror group Hamas. In August 2014, he shared an apparent image of Hamas militants “returned safely after 21 days of siege.” In July 2014, he shared a photo of Hamas militants with the caption, “Thank you! You make us proud …”

The 12 U.S. residents charged with Islamic extremism related terror offenses this year have been arrested in 7 different states including New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Virginia, Indiana and Missouri. Pugh is also the 31st American resident publicly linked to ISIS since 2014.

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March 6, 2015

VA Arrest Raises Total Of Americans Linked To ISIS Since 2014 To 30

isis-fighters

ISIS militants

The arrest of a 17-year-old Virginia teenager on charges that he had supported the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) brings the number of American citizens and residents publicly identified as linked with ISIS since January 2014 to 30.

The teenager, who has not been named, allegedly helped another man travel to Syria to join ISIS, at least in part, by using online resources and the help of online contacts.

He is one of eight American teenagers alleged to have attempted to provide support for ISISin the past two years. The others included 19-year-old Mohamed Hamzah Khan and his two unnamed siblings, aged 16 and 17, from Chicago who attempted to join ISIS, three unnamed girls aged 15, 16 and 17, from Denver, who attempted to join ISIS and Shannon Maureen Conley, a 19-year-old Denver woman who, in a separate incident, also attempted to join ISIS.

In total, 11 U.S. citizens and residents have been linked with ISIS in 2015, with arrests made in Virginia, New York, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio.

Nineteen were believed to have attempted to join or aid ISIS – or died while fighting with the group – in 2014.

Earlier this month, ISIS claimed via social media accounts and radio broadcasts that another American, who went by the nom de guerre Abu Daud al Amriki, died as part of a suicide attack.  His death and identity are still unconfirmed.

These individuals comprise only a fraction of the total number of Americans believed to have joined or attempted to join or aid ISIS. National Intelligence Director James Clapper said current estimates indicate that about 180 Americans have attempted to join the fight in Syria. It is unclear how many of those Americans attempted to join ISIS, as opposed to other militant groups.

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