A New York man pleaded guilty to attempting to help the Islamic State with financial funding and instructions on weapons production, according to the Department of Justice.
U.S. citizen Ali Saleh allegedly tried to provide material support to ISIS twice, according to the DOJ report Tuesday. He had also been arrested repeatedly for trying to travel to the Middle East to become an ISIS fighter.
“Ali Saleh attempted to travel to the Middle East to become an ISIS fighter, funded other foreign fighters, posted instructions to make explosive devices and transported explosive materials,” United States Attorney Richard Donoghue said, according to the DOJ.
Saleh became interested in ISIS’s efforts in 2013. He swore an allegiance to ISIS and said online, “I’m ready to die for the Caliphate, prison is nothing,” on Aug. 25, 2014, the DOJ reported.
Several days following the Aug. 25 statement, Saleh stated online that Muslims in the “khilafah” (caliphate) needed help and anyone who was capable of helping must do so. He also had plans to fly from New York to Turkey, but the travel arrangements fell through after his parents confiscated his passport.
Saleh gave up on becoming an ISIS fighter and focused his efforts on helping other ISIS supporters. He met an ISIS supporter from Mali through the internet in October 2014 and sent a wire transfer of $500 to fund the advocate’s journey to Syria.(RELATED: Algerian Man Pleads Guilty To Working With Pennsylvania Woman And Other Conspirators To Help Terrorists)
It was also reported that Saleh hid fireworks containing 1,196 grams of low explosive powder in the trunk of a car he drove from Indiana to New York City in July 2015. The powder contained pyrotechnic material and black powder, according to the DOJ.
Officials found an electronic pamphlet “Muslim Gangs: The Future of Muslims in the West (Ebook 1: How to Survive in the West)” on Saleh’s cellphone. Saleh posted the pamphlet online, which provided instructions on how to make “improvised explosive devices.”
Saleh made several more attempts to travel to the Middle East from the U.S., but kept facing restrictions at international airports in New York City, Newark, Philadelphia and Indianapolis. He then tried taking a train from Cleveland to Canada and then flying to the Middle East, but did not board the train after law enforcement intervened, the DOJ reported.
Between August and September 2015, Saleh kept showing his support for ISIS through various messages online, though he changed his social media moniker after several confrontations with law enforcement.
“I am a terrorist,” one of the messages said.
“If they aren’t implementing shariah [Islamic law] grab ur gun and implement shariah and see how fast the world turns against u,” Saleh said in another message.
Saleh faces 35 years of prison when sentenced.
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