Court documents say he left the United States in April 2014 for the purpose of training and fighting with terrorists in Syria.
As a naturalized citizen of the United States, the man obtained a U.S. passport and purchased a one-way ticket to Greece. He did not board a connecting flight to Athens, Greece, during his layover in Istanbul, Turkey. Instead, he completed his prearranged plans to travel to Syria.
After arriving in Syria, he obtained training from a group in shooting weapons, breaking into houses, using explosives and doing hand-to-hand combat. After completing his training, he was instructed by a cleric in the organization to return to the United States and commit an act of terrorism.
Making false statements
A grand jury has charged Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, 23, of Columbus, Ohio, with attempting to provide and providing material support to terrorists, attempting to provide and providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, and making false statements to the FBI.
Mohamud was arrested and detained in February 2015. Providing material support to terrorists and providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization — in this case Jabhat al-Nusrah — are crimes punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Making false statements involving international terrorism carries a maximum sentence of eight years in prison.
Neutralizing the threat
“According to the charges in the indictment, Mohamud allegedly traveled to Syria to train with and fight alongside terrorists,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin. “Identifying and neutralizing the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters who return to the United States is one of the National Security Division’s highest priorities. I want to thank the many agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this ongoing investigation.”
“Mohamud sought and obtained terrorist training in Syria,” said U.S. Attorney Carter M. Stewart. “Upon his return to the United States, he discussed carrying out acts in the United States.”
An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.