US charges Arizona man with supporting Islamic State
An Arizona man was indicted on Thursday for supporting the militant group Islamic State by helping a New York City college student travel to Syria for military-style training, U.S. authorities said.
Authorities said Ahmed Mohammed El Gammal, 42, of Avondale, Arizona, was arrested on Monday in Arizona and is being held without bail.
Federal prosecutors have charged numerous individuals across the country in recent months with supporting Islamic State, also known as ISIS, or ISIL, as the extremist group has sought to build support through the aggressive use of social media.
In the latest case, authorities said the 24-year-old college student, who is not named in court papers, contacted El Gammal in August 2014 after learning that he had posted messages on social media that were sympathetic to Islamic State.
After several months of communication, El Gammal traveled to New York to meet with the student, prosecutors said. El Gammal also arranged for him to get in touch with another co-conspirator who lived in Turkey to help the student travel to join Islamic State, according to court papers filed in Manhattan federal court.
The student traveled to Turkey earlier this year and later made his way to Syria, where he received training from Islamic State while staying in touch with El Gammal, authorities said.
El Gammal faces charges of providing material support to a terrorist organization, conspiracy and other counts.
His defense lawyer in Arizona did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement, “Individuals like Gammal who allegedly serve as facilitators for ISIL fuel the hatred and radicalization that keep terrorist organizations like ISIL alive.”