New York, Feb 26: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Wednesday arrested three New York residents who allegedly were planning to join the Islamic State(IS) and commit terrorist acts in the US, officials with the agency and the Justice Department said.
Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev and Abror Habibov, both citizens of Uzbekistan, and Akhror Saidakhmetov, a citizen of Kazakhstan, were facing charges of conspiracy for supporting that terrorist group.
The arrests of the three men, all residents of the New York borough of Brooklyn and who had been under observation by law enforcement for several months, were made in New York and Florida.
The FBI investigation revealed that Juraboev, 24, and Saidakhmetov, 19, were planning to travel to Syria via Turkey to join the IS, while Habibov, 30, helped finance Saidakhmetov in his efforts but had no plans to leave the country.
Saidakhmetov was arrested on Wednesday morning at JFK international airport in New York as he was getting ready to board a flight to Istanbul, while Juraboev had bought a ticket for next month to travel to the same destination and was arrested in Brooklyn.
According to local media, Habibov was arrested in Florida.
In the indictment, prosecutors said Juraboev first came to the attention of law enforcement authorities last August when he posted a message on an Uzbek-language website that propagates the IS ideology saying he and his companions wanted to "pledge our allegiance" to the IS "and commit ourselves."
In the same post, he offered to assassinate President Barack Obama if the terrorist group ordered him to do so. He also threatened to plant a bomb on New York's Coney Island.
Meanwhile, Saidakhmetov intended to carry out an attack on US soil if he was unable to travel to Syria to join the IS, and recently he expressed his intention to buy a pistol to shoot police officers and FBI agents if they learned of his plans.
"The flow of foreign fighters to Syria represents an evolving threat to our country and to our allies," said the US attorney for Eastern New York, Loretta E. Lynch, in the statement announcing the arrests.