Mississippi man sentenced to eight years for trying to join Islamic State

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 24, 2016 4:48 PM

(Reuters) - A Mississippi man was sentenced to eight years in prison on Wednesday for conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State after he and his wife planned with an undercover FBI employee to travel to Syria to join the militant group, prosecutors said.

Muhammad Oda Dakhlalla, 23, of Starkville, Mississippi, pleaded guilty in March to one conspiracy count.

U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock in Oxford, Mississippi, also ordered Dakhlalla to serve 15 years of supervised released once his prison term is up, prosecutors said in a statement.

A lawyer for Dakhlalla could not immediately be reached for comment.

Dakhlalla's 20-year-old wife, Jaelyn Delshaun Young, was sentenced to 12 years in prison at a hearing on Aug. 11.

U.S. prosecutors have brought dozens of criminal cases against U.S. citizens related to their support of Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL or Daesh and is listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.

Young's Twitter posts about her desire to join Islamic State caught the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in May 2015, and an FBI employee posing as an Islamic State recruiter began corresponding with her and Dakhlalla, according to court papers filed by U.S. prosecutors in the case.

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Dakhlalla told an FBI employee in one exchange, according to the court papers: "I am willing to fight. I want to be taught what it really means to have that heart in battle!"

Authorities arrested Dakhlalla and Young at a Mississippi airport in August 2015 while they were attempting to board a flight to go to Turkey.

(Reporting by David Ingram in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)