A Rochester, New York man was charged in a complaint filed Monday with two counts of receipt and possession of an unregistered firearm silencer. Mufid Elfgeeh is accused of plotting to kill members of the U.S. Armed Forces returning from Iraq as retribution for American foreign policy overseas. He is also alleged to have planned attacks on unidentified Shia Muslims in the Western District of New York.
According to the complaint, Elfgeeh used the online social networking site Twitter to post tweets in support of leading terrorist groups, including al-Qaida, al-Nusrat Front, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). He also used his Twitter account to solicit donations to assist jihadist fighters in Syria.
In one Twitter post, Elfgeeh wrote, "[A]l-Qaida said it loud and clear: we are fighting the American invasion and their hegemony over the earth and the people." He posted other tweets and photographs in support of the al-Qaida-linked terrorist group, Ansar al-Sharia, "stating that people will have an honorable life under Shari'a law, and that with grenades in their hands they are ready to die for the sake of Allah," the complaint said.
Elfgeeh called upon people to donate money for jihad and "stated that money is the largest resource for jihadists and the prophet Muhammad preached that people should fight the infidels with their money, their bodies, and their words." He also posted tweets urging people "to donate a third of their salary to the jihadists in Syria."
In conversations with a government informant, Elfgeeh discussed the deadly September 2013 attacks on a mall in Kenya by the al-Qaida affiliated Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab. The attacks killed at least 39 people and injured more than 150 others. Elfgeeh was recorded saying, "Kenya is killing everybody in Somalia. They [are] killing children, women, everyone…Anybody." He added "They [Kenya] go in there killing everybody, just like the Americans went into Iraq killing everybody. Just like … the Americans surrounding Iraq, everybody, it's like they go to Afghanistan killing everybody. It's like they went to Yemen now killing everybody. Doesn't make no difference."
In a December 2013 conversation with an informant, Elfgeeh brought up the idea of shooting members of the U.S. military. He expressed his desire to obtain a gun and ammunition and "just go around and start shooting." He later suggested emulating Mohammed Merah, a French-Algerian jihadist who went on a shooting spree in France in March 2012, killing three French soldiers as well as a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school.
Elfgeeh later paid the informant $1,050 in exchange for two handguns, two firearm silencers, and ammunition. He was arrested soon afterwards by members of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).
"In a post 9/11 world, law enforcement takes very seriously any potential threat against the safety and security of our country," U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. said in a Department of Justice press release announcing the arrest. "This defendant, on multiple occasions, stated his desire and intention to harm and kill American soldiers as well as his allegiance to terrorist groups whose mission it is to bring devastation upon our country. This defendant will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and so too would any individuals who attempt to inflict an act of terror on the United States or against Americans abroad."
Elfgeeh faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each of the counts.