- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Minnesota man will face terrorism charges for attempting to join the Islamic State, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Prosecutors said that Hamza Naj Ahmed, 19, and three companions traveled by bus from Minneapolis to New York City, then attempted to fly to join the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

“Hamza Ahmed is at least the fourth person from the Twin Cities charged as a result of an ongoing investigation into individuals who have traveled or are attempting to travel to Syria in order to join a foreign terrorist organization,” said Andrew Luger, U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota.

“Since 2007, dozens of people from the Twin Cities have traveled or attempted to travel overseas in support of terror,” Mr. Luger said. “While my office will continue to prosecute those who attempt to provide material support to ISIL or any other terrorist organization, we remain committed to working with dedicated community members to bring this cycle to an end.”

U.S. counter-terrorism officials have become increasingly concerned about the Minneapolis area. With a large number of recent immigrants from the Middle East and Northern Africa, experts say many in the city are especially susceptible to ISIS propaganda.

Mr. Ahmed actually made it further than his three companions when they attempted to board their planes to Turkey in November. The others were prevented from boarding, but Mr. Ahmed was able to make it aboard before being escorted off by law enforcement officers.

During interviews at the airport and after Mr. Ahmed returned to Minnesota, he repeatedly lied to FBI agents, prosecutors said. He was formally arrested on Feb. 5, and is being charged with three counts of aiding terrorists and lying to law enforcement.

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