U.S. Soldier Admits He Wanted to Fight for ISIL

     (CN) – Five days after his cousin pleaded guilty to ISIL-related charges, another Illinois man admitted he tried to fly to the Middle East to fight for the terrorist group.
     Aurora, Ill., resident Hasan Edmonds, 23, pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, and one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIL.
     Edmonds planned to travel to the Middle East to wage violence on behalf of the U.S.-designated terrorist organization, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
     He tried to board a flight to the Middle East at Chicago’s Midway International Airport on March 25 of this year but was arrested by FBI agents before he could get on the plane, the government says.
     Edmonds is a member of the U.S. Army National Guard and trained at a Joliet, Ill., facility.
     Edmonds’ cousin, 30-year-old Jonas Edmonds, pleaded guilty last week to conspiring to support ISIL. According to the government, he planned to carry out an attack at the Joliet base using Edmonds’ uniforms as a disguise.
     If convicted of both charges, the 23-year-old Edmonds faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for March 18, 2016.
     President Barack Obama on Monday called for other countries to join in the fight against ISIL. He said the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia and Italy have joined the United States in fighting the terrorist group, but said more help is needed.
     “We recognize that progress needs to keep coming faster. No one knows that more than the countless Syrians and Iraqis living every day under ISIL’s terror, as well as the families in San Bernardino and Paris and elsewhere who are grieving the loss of their loved ones,” he said.
     Obama said “we are hitting ISIL harder than ever” and named top terrorist leaders that have been killed.
     “The point is, ISIL leaders cannot hide. And our next message to them is simple: You are next,” he said.
     The president ended his remarks Monday by thanking U.S. military members.
     “This holiday season, many of our troops are once again far from their families. And as your Commander-in-Chief, on behalf of the American people, we want to say thank you,” Obama said. “We are grateful, and we are proud for everything that you do. Because of you, the America that we know and love and cherish is leading the world in this fight. Because of you, I am confident that we are going to prevail.”

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