A 19-year-old suburban Chicago man has been charged with supporting terrorism by trying to travel overseas and join the Islamic State, the group that the United States and its partners are fighting in Iraq and Syria.
Mohammed Hamzah Khan, a U.S. citizen from Bolingbrook, Ill., was arrested on Saturday evening at O’Hare International Airport, prosecutors announced on Monday. Khan appeared in court on Monday and was ordered held until his next court appearance.
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According to prosecutors, Khan was trying to travel to Vienna, then on to Istanbul where he would cross the border and join the group also known as ISIS or ISIL.
There are about a dozen Americans believed to be currently fighting in Syria, FBI Director James Comey said recently. There are more than 100 Americans who were arrested on suspicion of trying to go to Syria, or came back to the United States from the Mideast, he said.
Comey did not give details on the Americans’ involvement.
In a prepared statement, law enforcement agents said they saw Khan pass through the security screening checkpoint at the airport on Saturday.
Officials said they then searched Khan’s residence and recovered “multiple handwritten documents that appeared to be drafted by Khan and/or others, which expressed support for ISIL.”
According to the criminal complaint released by prosecutors, one page in a notebook had a drawing of what appeared to be an armed fighter with an Islamic State group flag and the words “Come to Jihad” written in Arabic.
Khan is charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
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