Minnesota man charged for aiding ISIS, threatening attack on New York

TOP DOJ 013123 AP Patrick Semansky

A Minnesota man was charged Friday with providing and conspiring to provide support to ISIS and threatening to attack New York City, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced.

Harafa Hussein Abdi, 41, a U.S. citizen who resides in Minneapolis, was recently taken into custody overseas and was transported back to the United States, the DOJ said.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen said in a statement that Abdi left the U.S. to join ISIS, a designated foreign terrorist organization, as a fighter, and to actively aid the group’s “propaganda efforts to spread its vile ideology.”

“There is no higher priority for the National Security Division than to protect Americans from terrorist organizations and we will work tirelessly to find and hold accountable those who would join these groups to do our people harm wherever they may be,” Olsen’s statement said.

Abdi moved from Minneapolis to Somalia in 2015. He joined ISIS’s media team to film footage for distribution by a “pro-ISIS media outlet.” He became trained in using an AK-47.

In 2017, he made comments that he was going to “fly through America on our way to shoot New York up. They trying to shut this thing. We ain’t going. We going to come blow New York up.” He also allegedly sent social media messages about committing violent acts in Manhattan, the DOJ said.

Authorities in East Africa later apprehended Abdi, after his relationship with ISIS leaders deteriorated.

The DOJ is charging Abdi with conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The agency is also charging Abdi with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, conspiring to receive military-type training from a terrorist organization and receiving military-type training from a terrorist organization.

Abdi appeared before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Manhattan federal court on Friday. He was born in Somalia in 1982, entered the U.S. in 1999 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2006, The Associated Press reported.

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