FBI: Terror Suspect Tried to Fly Out of Philly Airport to Join ISIS
The United States Attorney in New York has announced the arrest of Ali Saleh, a 22-year-old man from Queens who stands accused of attempting to join ISIS. And according to court documents, Saleh came to Philadelphia in July to attempt to begin his mission.
The feds say that Saleh used various Twitter accounts under his control to express his support of the terrorist organization and to attempt to join it. He allegedly wrote the following posts using one of those accounts: “I’m ready to die for the Caliphate, prison is nothing” and “Lets be clear the Muslims in the [Caliphate] need help, the one who is capable to go over and help the Muslims must go and help.” Prosecutors say that Saleh also used Twitter to communicate his travel plans with an “unidentified coconspirator.”
On July 24th, Saleh tried to fly from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to Egypt via Doha, Qatar, on Qatar Airlines, but after he was intercepted and questioned by Customs and Border Protection and other law enforcement, he left the airport. Later that day, law enforcement agents observed him at Newark Airport, where he asked about flights to Egypt, and he left Newark Airport in the early morning hours the next day and made his way to Philadelphia.
According to a criminal complaint filed in the case, law enforcement agents in Philadelphia once again intercepted him after he was turned away at an airline ticket counter. Investigators say that he told them that he was planning to travel to Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Yemen and that he had recently spent a month in Yemen, where Al Qaeda claims to have dozens of fighters. The court document claims that Saleh “was tired of America and had decided that it was time to leave,” in the words of federal prosecutors. After investigators interviewed him in Philadelphia, he once again attempted to board a Qatar Airways plane but was denied. He left the airport.
Saleh continued his attempts to leave the country for the Middle East, and eventually, authorities confronted him with screenshots from the Twitter accounts, and he allegedly admitted to being the person behind those accounts. He was arrested at his New York home on Thursday and will be charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, a charge with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
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