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Rochester Man Charged With Assisting ISIS, Plotting to Attack U.S. Armed Forces

A Yemeni native was indicted in Rochester, N.Y. Wednesday for attempting to provide material support and resources to the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Syria (ISIS), which calls itself the Islamic State. Mufid Elfgeeh, a naturalized American, also is accused of plotting to kill U.S. soldiers and of firearms violations.

According to court documents, Elfgeeh tried to help three people travel to Syria to wage violent jihad alongside ISIS forces. Two of the three turned out to be FBI informants. He also sent $600 to help someone in Yemen travel to Syria to join ISIS.

When one of the informants expressed reluctance to leave his family behind, Elfgeeh encouraged him to take his family with him. He gave examples of families participating in jihadist expeditions, including "a Saudi woman who left her children behind and went to the war for jihad." He also suggested names of "trustworthy people" the informant should contact, including "someone in Jabhat al-Nusrah [al-Qaida affiliate in Syria] who I told you is from our homeland."

Elfgeeh showed the informant a list of Facebook friends on his iPhone that included a man named Abu Qays, who he "described as a military leader of the Green Battalion in Homs, Syria." Elfgeeh noted "that the Green Battalion used to be affiliated with al-Nusrah Front [aka Jabhat al-Nusrah], but they separated from them," adding "[w]e are coordinating with them [the Green Battalion] on the grounds that they want to pledge allegiance to the State (ISIS), and they would like for the State to support them with ammunition and weapons."

This followed a series of Twitter posts in which he praised al-Qaida and other terrorist groups and said that "the prophet Muhammad preached that people should fight the infidels with the money, their bodies, and their words," an FBI affidavit said.

Elfgeeh was arrested in May after trying to buy handguns, unregistered silencers and ammunition from one of the informants. Last December, he mentioned the recent al-Shabaab shooting massacre in a Nairobi shopping mall, saying he was "thinking about just go[ing] to buy a big automatic weapon from off the street or something ... and just go around and start shooting."

In March, he talked about how getting a gun and silence was "a big step." He talked about posting a video statement "[o]nce we do five or ten already, 15, something like that."

If convicted, Elfgeeh could face 15 years in prison for charges involving material support for terrorists, and a minimum of 30 years for the firearms possession charges.