Man held in San Diego for Islamic State links to face trial in Minnesota

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 24, 2015 4:33 PM

By Marty Graham

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A Somali-American Minnesota man arrested in San Diego as prosecutors said he prepared to travel to Syria to fight for the Islamic State has agreed to return to Minneapolis to face federal prosecution for conspiracy to aid a terrorist group.

Mohamed Farah, 21, waived both his rights to seek bail and to fight extradition on Friday in U.S. District Court and will be returned to Minnesota, prosecutors said.

Farah is one of six Somali-American men from Minnesota who prosecutors said were part of a larger group of friends and relatives who had been conspiring to join the Islamic State for the past 10 months, many trying multiple times to leave the country.

Four of the men were arrested in Minnesota, capping a yearlong FBI investigation into would-be Islamic State recruits seeking to journey abroad, while two were arrested in California.

Farah was arrested on Sunday in San Diego with Abdurahman Yasin Daud, 21, after prosecutors said the pair drove to California seeking fake identity documents to use to travel to the Middle East from Mexico.

Dozens of people from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, many of them young Somali-American men, have traveled or attempted to travel overseas since 2007 to support al Shabaab, a Somalia-based militant group, or more recently to support the Islamic State, according to U.S. prosecutors.

All six men, U.S. citizens who are between the ages of 19 and 21, were charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorist groups and attempting to provide such support.

There was no evidence the accused had plans to carry out any attacks inside the United States, the U.S. Attorney for Minnesota Andrew Luger said. But prosecutors said the group met regularly to plan trips. One unidentified member had doubts, changed his mind and recorded their meetings, Luger said.

A bail and extradition hearing for the man arrested with Farah, Yasin Daud, was put off until April 30.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Lisa Shumaker)