Illinois man pleads guilty to terrorism charge

AP News
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Posted: Aug 11, 2015 1:30 PM

CHICAGO (AP) — A suburban Chicago man has pleaded guilty to a terrorism charge for attempting to join al-Qaida-affiliated fighters in the Middle East.

At a hearing Tuesday in Chicago, Abdella Ahmad Tounisi spoke softly as he told a federal judge he understood the consequences of pleading guilty. The 21-year-old occasionally turned to smile at nearly 30 relatives and friends on spectator benches.

Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan asked the Aurora man to explain his crime in his own words. Tounisi responded, "I wanted to go to Syria to fight with Jabhat al-Nusra." He added the group was also known as "Al-Qaida in Iraq."

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The FBI arrested Tounisi in 2013 after he contacted undercover agents through fake extremist websites.

Tounisi pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorists. He faces a maximum 15-year prison sentence.