iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Three New York City men were arrested Wednesday on charges they allegedly conspired to join ISIS in Syria, while also trying to carry out attacks on the terror group’s behalf in the United States, the FBI said.
Federal officials said the men had planned to travel to the Middle East and had also spoken about attacking President Obama or planting a bomb in Coney Island, Brooklyn, authorities said.
Federal officials said Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19, was arrested on Wednesday at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, where he was attempting to board a flight to Istanbul.
Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, 24, had a plane ticket to travel to Turkey sometime next month. He was arrested in Brooklyn, according to the feds.
Abror Habibov, 30, a third man, is accused of helping fund Saidakhmetov’s efforts, authorities said. He was arrested in Florida.
The arrests came as FBI Director James Comey spoke Wednesday about how ISIS, also known as ISIL, is recruiting members.
“ISIL in particular, is putting out a siren song through their slick propaganda through social media that goes like this: ‘Troubled soul, come to the caliphate, you will live a life of glory, these are the apocalyptic end times, you will find a life of meaning here fighting for our so-called caliphate and if you can’t come, kill somebody where you are.’ That is a message that goes out to troubled souls everywhere,” he said.
Three Brooklyn Residents Charged with Attempt and Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to ISIL http://t.co/TNZPdmUpiB
— FBI (@FBI) February 25, 2015
In August 2014, Juraboev allegedly posted this message on an Uzbek-language site of ISIS: “I am in USA now. … But is it possible to commit ourselves as dedicated martyrs anyway while here? What I’m saying is, to shoot Obama and then get shot ourselves, will it do? That will strike fear in the hearts of infidels.”
A week later, the FBI met with Juraboev twice. He allegedly told them that he believes in ISIS’ terrorist agenda and that he would like to go to Syria to fight with ISIS “if Allah wills,” authorities said.
He also told them he would harm Obama if he could, based on president’s role in killing Muslims, his support for Israel and recent bombings of ISIS. Juraboev allegedly said he didn’t have an imminent plan to harm Obama, but that if anyone within ISIS told him to, he would, authorities said.
The FBI twice met with Juraboev, where he again professed his loyalty to ISIS and repeated his claims that he would kill the president should the terror group ask him to.
“ISIL calls on its followers to come fight for the terrorist organization in Syria, and in messages to followers outside Syria, ISIL has called on them to attack police, intelligence officers or the military in their home countries including the United States,” said NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. “By pledging allegiance to ISIL, these defendants conspired to fight for a designated foreign terrorist organization either in Syria, or even New York.”
The men have been charged with attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization.
If convicted, they each face a maximum sentence of 15 years behind bars.
Saidakhmetov is a Brooklyn, N.Y., resident and citizen of Kazakhstan. Juraboev and Habibov also live Brooklyn and are citizens of Uzbekistan.
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.