You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

FBI arrests 2 at Tucson airport accused of pledging support for ISIS

Arizona Republic logo Arizona Republic 7/30/2019 Bree Burkitt
a close up of a clock: FBI logo © Nathan J. Fish/The Republic FBI logo

Two men were arrested at a Tucson airport after they pledged to provide support for ISIS and planned to travel overseas to fight on behalf of the terrorist organization, according to federal officials.

Ahmed Mahad Mohamed, 21, and Abdi Yemani Hussein, 20, were arrested on July 26 at the Tucson International Airport, according to the Department of Justice.

Federal court documents show the two men were in communication with an undercover FBI employee who they believed was helping make arrangements to travel to Egypt to carry out terrorist attacks there.

Court documents said they planned to conduct an attack in Tucson if they weren't able to travel. 

Both Mohamed and Hussein came to the U.S. as Somalian refugees, according to an affidavit filed in federal court. Mohamed obtained lawful permanent residency and Hussein is still a refugee.

An undercover FBI agent began communicating with Mohammed in August 2018. They told Mohammed they were located overseas. Mohammed allegedly told the FBI employee that he wanted to travel to Syria or Iraq to join ISIS and "achieve martyrdom."

"Mohamed stated, 'I love jihad so much wallahi (Arabic for 'I swear by Allah') I give my jihad life, I only think about jihad everywhere I go, but my father and mom they don't like jihad if they knew me I want to make hijrah they would spy me,'" the affidavit said. 

He also told the employee he wanted to become "the beheading guy" if he made it to Syria, the affidavit detailed. He told another officer he saved $2,000 for the trip.

The two undercover FBI employees continued to communicate with Mohamed as he made plans to travel to Egypt to join ISIS with the intent of eventually committing terrorism, the affidavit said.

During one conversation, he told the employees "the best wake-up call is Islamic State to get another victory or another 9/11."

Mohamed applied for a visa in April this year under the guise that he planned to travel to Egypt to study for Ramadan. He also helped Hussein submit his own travel documents. 

Hussein allegedly told the FBI employees during one in-person meeting that he intended to travel around the world to "make explosion" and wanted to blow up the White House. He would come to Tucson and the "city will die" if someone stopped him from travelling overseas, the affidavit said.

a close up of a clock © Provided by Gannett Co., Inc.

The pair bought tickets for a July 26 flight from Tucson connecting to Cairo. They were arrested by an FBI agent after checking in at the airport and passing through security. 

Reach public safety reporter Bree Burkitt at bburkitt@republicmedia.com or at 602-444-8515. Follow her on Twitter at @breeburkitt.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today. 

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: FBI arrests 2 at Tucson airport accused of pledging support for ISIS

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Arizona Republic

Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon