Three Brooklyn men were arrested earlier today for allegedly attempting to join ISIS and carry out attacks on the U.S. — including planting a bomb on Coney Island — if they were not able to travel overseas, according to FBI officials, according to a WPIX report.
The men were arrested by the FBI and members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force and were formally charged with attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS.
The suspects have been identified as Abdurasul Juraboev, 24; of Uzbekistan, Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19 of Kazakstan and Abror Habibov, 30 of Uzbekistan They face charges that include providing material support for terrorists, authorities said.
The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; John P. Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Diego G. Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), New York Field Office; and William J. Bratton, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD).
Published reports indicate that a government official said that it appears the three men had plans to carry out full scale terror attacks in the U.S. if they were unable to join ISIS overseas. The men planned to hijack a flight and divert it “to the Islamic State, so that the Islamic State would gain a plane,” according to a New York federal court complaint that was released Wednesday in Brooklyn.
According to an official statement on the arrest that appeared on the FBI web site, itsaid that, “as alleged, the defendants looked to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant by flying to Turkey in a vain attempt to evade detection. And one of the defendants was prepared to commit acts of terror here—in America—if he could not travel, to include killing FBI agents. The defendants violated the true tenants of their faith in pursuit of their radical, violent agenda. We rely on help from the community, the public, and religious leaders to be mindful of those who could be radicalized. We cannot do this alone.”
Officials say their plans also included killing President Obama — if ordered to do so by ISIS.
Saidakhmetov, a resident of Brooklyn and a citizen of Kazakhstan, was arrested at Kennedy Airport, where he was attempting to board a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, according to the WPIX report.
The report also indicated that Juraboev, a resident of Brooklyn and a citizen of Uzbekistan, had previously purchased a plane ticket to travel from New York to Istanbul and was scheduled to leave the United States next month. Habibov, a resident of Brooklyn and a citizen of Uzbekistan, helped fund Saidakhmetov’s efforts to join ISIS, according to the Department of Justice.
In the summer of 2014, Juraboev first came to the attention of law enforcement after he posted messages on an Uzbek-language website that extols ISIS’ ideology. Juraboev and Saidakhmetov then reportedly devised a plan to travel to Turkey and then to Syria for the purpose of waging jihad on behalf of ISIS.
“ISIL calls on its followers to come fight for the terrorist organization in Syria,” said Police Commissioner Bratton, “and in messages to followers outside Syria, ISIL has called on them to attack police, intelligence officers, or the military in their home countries including the United States. By pledging allegiance to ISIL, these defendants allegedly conspired to fight for a designated foreign terrorist organization, either in Syria or even New York.” Commissioner Bratton commended the work of the detectives and agents of the JTTF and the guidance of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York throughout the investigation.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. The charges in the complaint are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.