Michigan Man Convicted Of Joining ISIS, Training In Terrorist Tactics

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter & Pentagon Correspondent
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A federal court convicted a Dearborn, Michigan, man of joining the Islamic State (ISIS) and training in terrorist tactics from 2015 to 2018, the Department of Justice said in a press release.

Ibraheem Musaibli traveled to Syria in 2015 and enrolled in an “ISIS-run religious training camp” before moving on to a military training facility, where he learned how to operate a machine gun, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement. He then swore allegiance to ISIS and served as a member of the terrorist organization for the next two and a half years, a rare instance of a U.S.-born individual leaving America to support the notorious terrorist organization, according to The Detroit News.

“Ibraheem Musaibli traveled halfway around the world and joined a vicious, brutal, and violent terrorist organization known — and proud of — its barbaric acts of terror,” U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison for the Eastern District of Michigan said in the statement. “Today’s verdicts highlights the dedication of this office, along with our law enforcement partners, in pursuing anyone who poses a danger to the United States—no matter where they are located.”

In 2018, members of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the main group fighting alongside U.S. troops to counter ISIS in Syria, captured Musaibli and handed him over to the FBI, according to the statement. (RELATED: US Captures Two ISIS Militants In Syria)

Evidence brought forward by the prosecutor includes videos of Musaibli discussing his jihadist activities and text and WhatsApp messages to relatives back home, The Detroit News reported.

Defense lawyers argued that curiosity about a country that adhered to strict Muslim law drew Musaibli overseas, first to Yemen and then to Syria, according to The Detroit News. He was identified as a spy and thrown into an ISIS jail, the defense argued.

“The vast majority of people arrested for ISIS-related crimes never got outside of the U.S. and joined ISIS,” Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, told The Detroit News.

Musaibli could face up to 50 years in prison on counts of “providing, attempting to provide, and conspiring to provide material support” to ISIS, according to DOJ. The FBI assisted in the investigation.

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