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Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Back issues
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Marylander Indicted|on Terror Charges

(CN) - A Maryland man is accused of supporting ISIL and accepting money from overseas to plan a terrorist attack on behalf of the group.

Mohamed Elshinawy, 30, was indicted late Wednesday for allegedly trying to help the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization.

An 11-page indictment charges Elshinawy with conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, providing and attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, terrorism financing, and making false statements to law enforcement.

The Edgewood, Md., resident pledged his allegiance to ISIL during a Feb. 17, 2015, discussion with a childhood friend over social media, according to the indictment. A month later, he allegedly encouraged his brother to join the terrorist group.

He once told the person believed to be his brother about "a dream he had in which he committed violent jihad by killing people in a church with a gun," prosecutors allege.

Elshinawy and his childhood friend, referred to by prosecutors as a co-conspirator, also discussed getting or making an explosive device and talked about possible targets, the indictment states.

Last March, Elshinawy received $1,500 to carry out a terrorist attack on behalf of ISIL, prosecutors claim. Over the next several months, he allegedly received an additional $7,200 for terrorism purposes.

"Defendant and his co-conspirators utilized various financial accounts and services to transfer monies into the United States from overseas to be used to conduct a terrorist attack, including, among other things, bank accounts, online financial accounts, prepaid credit/debt cards, online e-commerce accounts, and the business account of a company headquartered overseas," the indictment states.

Elshinawy bought a pay-as-you-go cellphone and registered it with a fake name and address in an attempt to hide his terrorism-related communications, prosecutors say.

He was arrested on Dec. 11, 2015, and has been detained ever since, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

If convicted on all four counts, Elshinawy faces a maximum sentence of 58 years in prison. Any possible sentence would be based on a review of factors unique to the case, the Justice Department said.

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