By Libya Herald staff.
27 March 2015:
An American reserve soldier who was arrested at Chicago airport before boarding a flight to Egypt . . .[restrict]planned to join Islamic State militants in Derna, according to US Department of Justice documents.
Hasan Edmonds, who lived in Illinois, was captured after inadvertently communicating with undercover FBI agents, with whom he shared his plans to join IS as a fighter. Although initially he told the agents he planned to go to Syria to fight with IS, in mid-March his plans changed and he said he would be heading to the town of Derna in Libya. He had planned to fly to Egypt and travel from there to Derna, buying return tickets to avoid raising suspicion.
Edmonds had completed three years of a planned six years as a soldier in America’s National Guard – part of the US military reserve units – in Illinois.
According to an affidavit given by the FBI, Edmonds said that, although his primary goal was to fight and serve as a mujahid, he would be “honoured” to to help out however he could. After “earning his stripes in the field” Edmonds said he would be prepared to use his military background to train others. As part of this, he agreed to take military training manuals and weapons specifications to Libya. However, it appears that these communications were with FBI agents, rather than anyone in Libya.
Edmond’s cousin Jonas Edmonds who also apparently wanted to fight with IS but had passport problems, told the undercover FBI operatives that he planned to stage an attack in America. One of the proposed targets was at the National Guard institution in Illinois where Hasan Edmonds had trained. Jonas Edmonds, who called himself Yunus, estimated that such an attack could kill over 100 members of the military and claimed to have the necessary materials at his disposal.
According to the US Department of Justice, both Hasan and Jonas Edmonds were arrested “for allegedly conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a foreign terrorist organisation.” A criminal complaint was filed on 25 March 2015 against the two men.
“According to the charges filed today, the defendants allegedly conspired to provide material support to ISIL and planned to travel overseas to support the terrorist organisation,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin in a press statement released by the US Department of Justice. “In addition, they plotted to attack members of our military within the United States. Disturbingly, one of the defendants currently wears the same uniform of those they allegedly planned to attack.”
If found guilty of the offences, under US law the men could face up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
It is not known whether the either of the two men had any previous connections with Libya. [/restrict]