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Chicago Man Admits Trying to Aid Somali Terrorist Group

A Chicago man pleaded guilty to planning to travel to Somalia to aid the al-Shabaab terrorist organization, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago said.

Shaker Masri, 28, entered his plea today before U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman in Chicago, according to a statement from acting U.S. Attorney Gary S. Shapiro. He will be sentenced on Oct. 16. His agreement with prosecutors calls for nine years and 10 months in prison, Shapiro said.

“According to the plea agreement, on July 19, 2010, Masri told an associate, who, unbeknownst to Masri at the time, was a government cooperating source, that he had decided to travel abroad to engage in a jihadist conflict as a combatant,” Shapiro said.

The U.S. has designated al-Shabaab a foreign terrorist organization, Masri, a U.S. citizen, acknowledged in his agreement. Defense attorney Thomas A. Durkin of Chicago didn’t immediately reply to a voice-mail message seeking comment.

Masri was arrested two years ago as he made final arrangements with the FBI source for his Somali journey, which was to begin with a flight to Los Angeles.

Al-Shabaab is an affiliate of the al-Qaeda network, U.S. officials have said.

The case is U.S. v. Masri, 10-cr-655, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

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