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Chicago man arrested for allegedly attempting to join ISIS

Updated

FBI agents arrested a suburban Chicago man over the weekend for allegedly attempting to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Illinois confirmed Monday.

Authorities detained 19-year-old Mohammed Hamzah Khan inside Chicago O’Hare International Airport on Saturday, before he attempted to fly to Vienna, Austria, en route to Istanbul, Turkey.

Khan, a U.S. citizen living in Bolingbrook, a suburb of Chicago, faces charges of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. He appeared in U.S. District Court on Monday morning and remains in federal custody.

The itinerary purchased for Khan on Sept. 26 included round-trip tickets from Chicago to Istanbul, according to a copy of the complaint affidavit obtained by msnbcHe was set to leave the United States on Saturday and return to the country on Thursday.

While Khan was at the airport, federal agents obtained a search warrant for his residence. They recovered multiple handwritten documents, including text that expressed support for ISIS, according to the affidavit. Authorities were unsure whether Khan drafted the material himself, or whether other individuals wrote the content. The handwritten notebook included the following, according to the affidavit:

  • “$4,000 ticket to Istanbul Cred”
  • “supplies via credit card”
  • “cash for hotel in Istanbul $70”
  • “bus ride to Esekir ($)”
  • “Esekir to Koya to Adana”
  • “ ‘get in touch with’ a list of four individuals”
  • “most likely go to Urfa”

Above the text was a drawing of what appeared to be the United States and Turkey. Also on the page were the following words, in Arabic, according to the affidavit: “Al-Raqqah Province. In the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant. Abu-‘Ikasha Al-Amriki. For the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant.”

Other items included a drawing that appeared to depict the ISIS flag, a sketch that seemed to show an armed fighter with an ISIS flag behind him, and a calendar book with various handwritten notes.

Khan was first approached by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers as he passed through the security screening checkpoint at O’Hare’s international terminal on Saturday. FBI agents later interviewed him at the airport.

Attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

On Monday, ISIS fighters raised their black flag in a section of the Syrian city of Kobani, where ISIS militants have been battling Kurdish forces for control of the town. The militant group had been gaining ground in the town, which is located near the Turkish border. 

ISIS has taken control of other large areas of Syria and northern Iraq. U.S.-led military attacks against the group continued on Saturday and Sunday, after weeks of launches that initially began with action from the United States and five allied Arab nations.

Chicago, FBI, Illinois, ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Middle East and Turkey

Chicago man arrested for allegedly attempting to join ISIS

Updated