Feds Nab Man at Queens Home for Allegedly Attempting to Join ISIS

Feds Nab Man at Queens Home for Allegedly Attempting to Join ISIS

PHOTO:  According to federal authorities, Ali Saleh tweeted ‘I’m ready to die for the Caliphate…’ a few days before making reservations to travel from JFK International Airport (pictured) to Istanbul, Turkey. File photo

If recent incidents are any indication, Queens seems to be fertile ground for individuals bent on aiding what has become the most dangerous foreign terrorist organization in the world.

Federal authorities last Thursday rousted Ali Saleh, 22, from his borough home and charged him with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Last month, a federal grand jury in Brooklyn returned an indictment charging Flushing resident Munther Omar Saleh (no relation) with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to ISIS, and with assaulting and conspiring to assault federal officers.

Ali Saleh, a U.S. citizen, has made multiple attempts to travel to the Middle East to join ISIS, according to court documents. In August 2014, he made a flight reservation to travel from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Istanbul, Turkey. A few days earlier, Saleh posted to his Twitter account, “I’m ready to die for the Caliphate, prison is nothing.”

Saleh was unable to travel at that time, but continued to pursue his goal of getting overseas to join the extremist group, according to the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s office. In July 2015, he made a flight reservation to travel from JFK to Cairo, Egypt. On that same day, Saleh used his Twitter account to communicate with an ISIS facilitator who instructed followers to contact him “for hijrah advice to IS in Libya ONLY.”

Hijrah is the pilgrimage from Mecca to Medina, following in the footsteps of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his followers who initiated the journey in the year 622 AD.

After speaking with airline personnel, Saleh did not board a flight at JFK. Over the span of the next two days, he continued his attempts to travel to the Middle East by visiting Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and Philadelphia International Airport, where he was again denied boarding.

Saleh then traveled to an Amtrak station in Cleveland, in an attempt to take a train to Toronto, Canada, and travel to the Middle East from there. In a subsequent interview with law enforcement officers, Saleh indicated that were he not arrested, he would continue to attempt to travel to the Middle East.

“By his own words, Ali Saleh was willing to pledge allegiance to, and die for [ISIS], an organization that has called for terrorist attacks against the United States,” said city Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. “Saleh’s attempts to travel to Syria and [ISIS] battlefields were halted by good intelligence and smart law enforcement. I commend the agents and detectives of the Joint Terrorism Task Force as well as the dedicated prosecutors at the office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.”


By Michael V. Cusenza   michael@theforumnewsgroup.com




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