The Minnesota-ISIS connection: Six arrested in terrorist probe (+video)
Federal authorities have been tracking Minnesota youths who have traveled or tried to travel to Syria to fight with militants, including the Islamic State or ISIS.
St. Paul, Minn. — Six people have been arrested in two states in connection with a terrorism investigation in Minnesota, where authorities have been tracking youths who have traveled or tried to travel to Syria to fight with militants, including the Islamic State group, authorities said.
Ben Petok, a spokesman for the Minnesota U.S. Attorney's Office, said the arrests were made Sunday in Minneapolis and San Diego and that there is no threat to public safety. He provided no information about charges.
Kyle Loven, spokesman for the Minneapolis office of the FBI, said six people were arrested Sunday but gave no further details. An FBI spokesman in San Diego referred questions to Loven.
The U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI planned a news conference Monday to announce details of a joint terrorism task force operation.
Authorities say a handful of Minnesota residents have traveled to Syria to fight with militants within the last year. At least one Minnesotan has died while fighting for the Islamic State.
Omar Jamal, a Somali activist in Minneapolis, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the community has been abuzz about arrests Sunday of several young Somali men both in Minneapolis and California that appear to be linked to the ongoing investigation related to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and Al-Shabab.
“The community is in a state of confusion,” Jamal said Sunday night. “They don’t know what is going on. … This is a very serious issue. We as a community are concerned about losing our kids to [ISIL].”
Since 2007, more than 22 young Somali men have also traveled from Minnesota to Somalia to join the militant group al-Shabab.
Four Minnesotans have already been charged in connection with supporting terror groups in Syria, including the Islamic State group.
One man, 19-year-old Hamza Ahmed, was stopped at a New York City airport in November as he and three others were attempting to travel to Syria. Ahmed has been indicted on charges of lying to the FBI during a terrorism investigation, conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State group, and attempting to provide material support. He has pleaded not guilty.
But there have been no public charges filed against his three companions, and little information had been released about them. An FBI affidavit said they are all between the ages of 19 and 20 and live in the Twin Cities.