Another Ohio Man Charged With Providing Material Support to ISIS
A federal grand jury today indicted a Jordanian man living in Ohio on charges that he attempted to provide material support and resources to ISIS -- the second such case in Ohio in a month.
Laith Waleed Alebbini, 26, of Dayton, was arrested on April 26 by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport as he was going to board the first of a series of connecting flights to Jordan, where he planned to cross the border into Syria and join the terror group.
According to the FBI, Alebbini is a citizen of Jordan and became a legal permanent resident of the United States in April 2014. He first traveled to the U.S. in July 2011.
A sworn affidavit from FBI investigators states Alebbini was arrested Jan. 10 for unlawfully entering the Turkish embassy in Washington D.C., but the charges were later dropped.
Two days later, Alebbini tried to travel to Turkey via Amsterdam, but was denied entry because his Jordanian passport had expired, officials said. He returned to the U.S. on Jan. 15.
On Jan. 23, the FBI states Alebbini was interviewed about the incident at the Turkish embassy.
During the interview, Alebbini allegedly admitted to posting pro-ISIS videos on Facebook and to supporting ISIS's desire for a united Middle East.He allegedly said during the interview that "I am the perfect recruit for ISIS," but said he did not agree with their violence, according to court documents.
He said his reason for going to the embassy was to discuss the conflict in the Middle East with the Turkish Ambassador, the documents state.
"Alebbini said the security at the embassy was very lax, and that 'if I had on bomb on me, I swear to God, three embassies would have done down,'" investigators reported in the affidavit.
The FBI decided to keep a close eye on Alebbini after that.
Via WCPO Cincinnati:
In court records, an FBI special agent detailed various pro-ISIS comments he said Alebbini had made to a confidential source, including that he planned to travel to the Middle East, join ISIS and "fight in Jihad."
"Our duty is to support the Islamic State," Alebbini is quoted as saying. "Those are the words, what is your duty? Jihad. A person is supposed to stay away from the people of sins ... and what happens, happens ... caught? Let them arrest you, then, let them arrest me. This is the true conversation."
If convicted, Alebbini could spend up to 20 years in prison.
On April 16, another Ohioan was charged with attempting to provide material support to terrorists. According to the Justice Department, Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, 23, of Columbus, had traveled to Syria to train with al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate, and had also posted pro-ISIS propaganda online. “Mohamud talked about doing something big in the United States,” the documents say. “He wanted to go to a military base in Texas and kill three or four American soldiers execution style.”
Some other recent cases:
Two Illinois men were arrested on April 12 on a federal complaint charging them with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to an associate joining ISIS on the battlefield in Syria.
According to the complaint, the men had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, advocated for terrorism on social media, and even shared photos of themselves in terrorist get-ups holding the Islamic State flag at the Illinois Beach State Park in suburban Zion.
In February, an Army vet from Columbia, Missouri, was charged in federal court with attempting to provide material support or resources to “a foreign terrorist organization."
Robert Lorenzo Hester Jr., 25, a Muslim convert, was arrested by the FBI on Friday. Hester was allegedly plotting an ISIS-style attack in Kansas City for Presidents' Day targeting buses, trains, and Union Station.
He was taken into custody after meeting up with federal agents posing as Islamic State terrorists whom he'd been speaking to for months.
Also in February, a Wisconsin man got ten years in prison for trying to join ISIS after a trip to Syria.
A federal court judge gave Joshua Van Haften of Janesville a ten year sentence Friday for providing material support to a terrorism organization by traveling to Turkey and trying to join ISIS in 2014.
"I would never have hurt anyone," a tearful Van Haften told Judge James Peterson during sentencing.
Even though Peterson rejected the recommendation of federal prosecutors that Van Haften receive the maximum, fifteen year sentence, Peterson said he could not believe Van Haften would have joined ISIS and not commit violence, noting Van Haften had watched a video of the ISIS beheading of American James Foley, and expressed his support.