Hasan Edmonds, a member of the Illinois Army National Guard, was arrested at the Chicago Midway International Airport just before boarding a flight to Cairo, Egypt. Edmonds hoped to take the "southern route" that he was told was the "safest route" from Egypt into Syria to fight alongside Islamic State forces. Jonas Edmonds, Hasan's cousin, was arrested in his home in the Chicago suburb Aurora.
According to a criminal complaint, Hasan planned to use his military training to wage jihad with the Islamic State. Jonas planned to stay in the U.S. and carry out an armed attack against a U.S. military facility in northern Illinois where Hasan trained. The cousins planned to use Hasan's uniforms and knowledge about getting inside the facility.
In conversations with an undercover agent on Facebook, Hasan said it was his "duty" to support ISIL and die a martyr. He said he had no desire to continue serving in the U.S. National Guard and preferred to "struggle and strive hard in the cause of Allah rather than sit back and live a 'comfortable' life." Hasan also gave advice to the undercover agent on how to fight the U.S. and its army saying, "In all honesty the best way to be them is to break their will. With the U.S. no matter how many you kill they will keep coming unless the soldiers and the american [sic] public no longer have the will to fight."
When he had trouble getting a passport, Jonas told the undercover agent he wanted to meet other ISIL supporters in the U.S. if he couldn't get to Mosul in Iraq to wage jihad. "If I find myself stuck here. I intend to take advantage of being close to the kuffar [infidel] ... Do you know of brothers on this side. That are not looking to leave."
The Edmonds cousins "plotted to attack members of our military within the United States," Assistant Attorney General John Carlin said in a Justice Department press release announcing the arrest. "Disturbingly, one of the defendants currently wears the same uniform of those they allegedly planned to attack."
Both Edmonds men face a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.