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Chicago Man Who Tried To Join Terrorist Group Gets 15-Year Sentence

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Anders Hagstrom Justice Reporter

A federal court has sentenced a Chicago man to 15 years in prison for trying to travel overseas to join a terrorist organization in Syria, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, 23, was originally arrested in 2013 in an FBI sting operation as he attempted to board a flight to Turkey at the Chicago O’Hare airport, according to the DOJ.

Tounisi revealed radical jihadis’ beliefs to an FBI agent posing as a recruiter for Jabhat al-Nusra, a Syrian-based terrorist organization with links to al-Qaida. Tounisi informed the FBI agent of his plans to travel to Syria through a series of email exchanges in early 2013, triggering his arrest. (RELATED: Man Pleads Guilty To Attempting To Bomb Florida Synagogue)

Tounisi is one of several American citizens who were apprehended by the FBI or sentenced for attempting to join various terrorist organizations this year. He was also a close friend of Adel Daoud, who was arrested in 2012 for trying to set off a bomb in a Chicago bar.

Tounisi and Daoud were in close contact during the lead-up to Daoud’s attempted attack. While he ultimately decided not to participate, he did suggest various different techniques to help his friend maximize the attack’s effect. Daoud is still on trial in a federal court in Chicago.

The Chicago FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force led the investigation which culminated in Tounisi’s arrest. The group is made up of FBI agents, Chicago police officers, and personnel from 20 other law enforcement agencies.

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