Minnesota man tried to help Islamic State terrorists, prosecutors allege

A Minnesota man on Thursday was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of trying to aid Islamic State terrorists and giving false information in a terrorism investigation.

Hazma Naj Ahmed, 19, a U.S. citizen who lives in Minneapolis, traveled in November by bus from Minnesota to New York with three other people. They attempted to board a flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport bound for Istanbul, Turkey, according to the indictment. 

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents prevented the men from boarding the flight and Ahmed is accused of making false statements about his intentions to travel to Turkey when he was questioned by FBI agents.

“Ahmed is at least the fourth person from the Twin Cities charged as a result of an ongoing investigation into individuals who have traveled or are attempting to travel to Syria in order to join a foreign terrorist organization,” U.S. Atty. Andrew Luger said in a statement.

A spokesman for Luger declined to comment on Ahmed’s companions, citing the investigation.

Other people from Minnesota who have been indicted recently on charges of trying to help Islamic State include Abdullahi Yusuf and Abdi Nur. Both men, who have not been linked to Ahmed, were charged on similar counts in November after they attempted to travel to Turkey.

The case, Luger said, is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force. 

The indictment alleges that Ahmed, who was taken into custody this month, falsely said he was traveling alone to Turkey and that he did not know the other two men from Minnesota. 

In recent months, people from several states have been detained by authorities on suspicion of plotting to help Islamic State terrorists. 

Last month a Colorado woman was sentenced to 48 months in prison by a federal judge after she tried to board a flight from Denver to Turkey. Shannon Maureen Connely, 19, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. In exchange for a lighter sentence, she agreed to help authorities identify and prosecute those trying to recruit others into terrorist groups.

Follow @kurtisalee and email