Friday, September 22, 2023
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Guardsman Had Hoped to Join ISIL, FBI Says

CHICAGO (CN) - Two Chicago-area men, one of whom was a national guardsman, will appear in federal court Thursday afternoon on terror charges.

Hasan Edmonds, 22, was arrested Wednesday night at Chicago's Midway Airport, while his cousin, Jonas Edmonds, 29, was arrested at his home in Aurora.

Both men are U.S. citizens. The younger Edmonds, an Army national guardsman, was scheduled to board a flight to Cairo, Egypt, according to the criminal complaint against him.

From Cairo, he planned to travel to Derna, Libya, a city controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), prosecutors say.

While Hasan was supposed to enlist exploit his U.S military training for ISIL's benefit, his cousin Jonas planned to carry out an armed attack against a U.S. military facility in northern Illinois, according to the complaint.

"Both defendants met with an FBI undercover employee and presented a plan to carry out an armed attack against a U.S. military facility in northern Illinois, an installation where Hasan Edmonds had been training," the Department of Justice said in a statement. "Jonas Edmonds asked the FBI undercover employee to assist in the attack and explained that they would use Hasan Edmonds' uniforms and the information he supplied about how to access the installation and target officers for attack."

Hasan allegedly communicated extensively with an undercover FBI employee via Facebook and later email with whom he spoke about his future plans.

FBI Agent Morgan Spurlock testified in an affidavit attached to the complaint that Hasan Edmonds told the undercover agent via email: "Not be easy [sic] but I'd rather struggle and strive hard in the cause of Allah rather than sit back and live a 'comfortable' life. And what you say is true brother but the banners are up. The State has been established and it is our duty to heed the call. InshaAllah we will complete our task or be granted shahada trying. And yes I look forward to the training. I am already in the American kafir army (back when I was still in this dunyah and not Muslim) and now I wish only to serve in the army of Allah alongside my true brothers."

Hasan also explained his military training and familiarity with certain firearms, and indicated his willingness to attack a U.S. target if so ordered, according to the complaint.

A discussion between the cousins about these conversations allegedly then led Jonas to contact the same undercover agent, saying he wanted to move his entire family to Mosul, Iraq, to be under the control of the Islamic State.

Jonas allegedly said: "My life is for Allah, I am a soldier in His army. Even after I get my family to dowlah I intend to go in the cause. The best of mankind are the mujahideen. May Allah place me among their ranks."

Conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan is presiding over the men's initial court appearance at 3 p.m. Thursday.

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