New York, Feb 25: Three New York residents have been arrested for plotting to join extremists fighting in Syria and two threatened to carry out attacks within the United States, officials said today.
Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, 24, Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19, and Abror Habibov, 30, have been charged with attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organisation.
The teenage Saidakhmetov, a Kazakh citizen, was arrested today at New York's John F Kennedy International Airport attempting to board a flight to Istanbul, before traveling onto Syria. US prosecutors said he recently expressed intent to buy a machine gun and shoot US police officers and FBI agents if thwarted in his plan to join the Islamic State (IS) group fighting in Syria.
They also accused Juraboev of being prepared to attack within the United States, and said he posted a message online in August 2014 offering to kill the US president if ordered to do so by IS. All three are Brooklyn residents. The arrests come a month after IS spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani called on Muslims in the West to carry out new attacks and amid growing concern about the homegrown extremist threat in the West.
"The flow of foreign fighters to Syria represents an evolving threat to our country and to our allies," said Loretta Lynch, US attorney for the eastern district of New York.
"We will vigorously prosecute those who attempt to travel to Syria to wage violent jihad," she said. "Anyone who threatens our citizens and our allies, here or abroad, will face the full force of American justice."
Federal prosecutors in New York said Juraboev bought a plane ticket to travel from New York to Istanbul next month, also planning to make his way to Syria and wage war on behalf of IS. The third suspect, Habibov, is accused of helping to fund Saidakhmetov's efforts to join the Syrian jihadists and is scheduled to appear in a court in Florida later today.
In late January IS spokesman Adnani called on Muslims in the West to carry out new attacks after 17 people were killed in assaults on January 7-9 in Paris against a magazine and a kosher supermarket.