A West Haven man who allegedly attempted to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization has been charged by federal authorities, according to the office of the U.S. attorney.
Ahmad Khalil Elshazly, 22, of West Haven, is charged on a federal criminal complaint with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham or ISIS, which is a designated foreign terrorist organization, according to a release from the office of Connecticut U.S. Attorney John H. Durham, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, and Brian C. Turner, special agent in charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Elshazly was arrested Sunday, and was ordered detained after appearing Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert M. Spector in New Haven, the release said.
The release said the criminal complaint alleges that, “beginning in approximately September 2018, Elshazly, a U.S. citizen, has made numerous statements to others, both in person and through online messaging applications, expressing a desire to travel to Syria and the surrounding area to fight on behalf of ISIS. In February 2019, Elshazly stated that he had saved approximately $1,000 with the intention of using the money to travel to Jordan to transit to Syria to be with ISIS.”
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners are committed to targeting and stopping those who wish to cause mayhem, both in the U.S. and abroad, before they are successful,” Durham said in the release. “I thank the FBI’s JTTF and all the agencies involved in the lengthy investigation that culminated in yesterday’s arrest. Their work has saved lives.”
Further, federal authorities allege, “in October 2019, during a meeting with other individuals, Elshazly made numerous statements supporting ISIS, including, “‘… they say, War has started and we are marching to it. … but all doors are closed, closed. I am talking to myself now, asking myself, How do I get there? How can I help Muslims? How can I do anything?’”
He further allegedly stated, according to the release, “God willing! May this country [United States] burn the same way they burned Muslims! May they burn in fire at the end!” Elshazly allegedly made these statements in a public venue and when asked to lower his voice when talking loudly, said “I am not scared,” according to the release.
It also is alleged that, during the meeting, Elshazly said, “‘…I want to go to the caliphate and fight there. I can kill maybe … like a hundred … I can kill them. A hundred … If I do something here how many … could I kill? One, two, three and then I get shot and I die. It is more benefitting if I go there, I could kill more and will get more faithful rewards,’” according to the release.
It is further alleged that, in December 2019, Elshazly also allegedly sent another person a series of YouTube videos explaining how various high-powered firearms and other weaponry work, the release said.
Because he allegedly was “concerned about being stopped by law enforcement at an airport, Elshazly arranged to travel by ship to Turkey. Elshazly provided another individual with $500 that Elshazly believed would be used to pay for a portion of his trip,” the release said.
Elshazly was arrested Sunday after he arrived in Stonington, where he expected to board a boat to begin his trip, according to federal officials.
“As alleged in the complaint, Elshazly was bent on supporting ISIS,” said Demers in the release. “Worried that his efforts here would be too small and that he would be stopped at the airport, he planned to travel overseas aboard a container ship to join and fight for ISIS. The National Security Division is committed to identifying and holding accountable those who continue to seek to provide material support to foreign terrorist organizations.”
Turner said, “It is crucial the citizens of Connecticut, and across the country, know we at the FBI and our task force partners are unwavering in our work to successfully identify and disrupt potential terrorist activities, as this case demonstrates.”
“Through nonstop intelligence gathering and great investigative techniques, we will continue to pursue those who seek to bring harm to U.S. citizens and dismantle potential terrorist actions wherever they may be,” he said.
The charge of conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization carries a maximum of up to 20 years in prison.
The case is being investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force with the assistance of the Stonington Police Department, New Haven Police Department and Connecticut State Police. The FBI’s JTTF includes participants from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Connecticut State Police, Connecticut Department of Correction, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Department, Norwich Police Department, Hartford Police Department, Stamford Police Department, Norwalk Police Department, Town of Groton Police Department, UConn Police Department, Yale Police Department, and New York Police Department.
© 2019 the New Haven Register
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.