A U.S. citizen suspected of fighting for the Islamic State was captured on a battlefield in northern Syria earlier this month, according to U.S. officials from multiple agencies.
The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) picked up Ibraheem Musaibli, a 28-year-old man from Dearborn, Michigan, earlier this month as he was attempting to flee the Middle Euphrates River Valley, The New York Times reported Thursday. Musaibli is expected to be brought to the U.S., along with Samantha Elhassani, an Indiana woman whose husband joined ISIS, for prosecution.
Both individuals have already been indicted in sealed court proceedings, TheNYT explained. Musaibli is apparently facing potential charges of supporting an extremist group. As for Elhassani, after her husband died fighting for the Islamic State, she and her children fled to a refugee camp. Her ten-year-old son reportedly made an appearance in an ISIS propaganda video, in which he pledged to carry out attacks in the West.
Currently detained in a local holding facility, Musaibli is the second American man accused of fighting for ISIS to be captured on a Syrian battlefield. An American citizen was arrested after he surrendered to the SDF in September 2017, ABC reported. (RELATED: American ISIS Fighter Captured In Syria)
The newest detainee was identified as an ISIS fighter by another prisoner.
Musaibli’s family expressed disbelief over his arrest and the accusations against him. “My brother is a saint,” Abe Musaibli, the suspected militant’s brother, revealed to TheNYT. “He wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
Two U.S. officials confirmed to TheNYT that Musaibli sent text messages to his family informing them of his intention to join ISIS.
The suspect reportedly dropped out of high school to help run a family business. He later started a family and relocated to Yemen. Musaibli is believed to have moved to Syria around 2015. He was known to law enforcement officials.
The U.S. struggled to prosecute the “John Doe” detained in 2017, however, experts argue that because Musaibli has already been indicted, it should be significantly easier to build a case against him, as there was enough evidence for the initial indictment.
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