National Guardsman Accused of Trying to Aid Islamic StateAndrew Harris
An Illinois National Guard specialist and his cousin were arrested on federal charges that they conspired to aid Islamic State terrorists.
Hasan Edmonds, 22, the guardsman, was picked up Wednesday at Chicago’s Midway International Airport. Jonas Edmonds, 29, was apprehended at his Aurora, Illinois, home, Chicago U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon said in a statement.
“We will pursue and prosecute with vigor those who support ISIL and its agenda of ruthless violence,” Fardon said, using shorthand for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The case comes a month after prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York, charged three local men with trying to join Islamic State. This month, a U.S. Air Force veteran was indicted in Brooklyn for trying to join the Sunni Muslim insurgency that controls swaths of Syria and Iraq.
Prosecutors said Thursday that the two men met with an undercover FBI agent and plotted an attack on a U.S. military facility in northern Illinois. Jonas Edmonds planned to carry out the plot after Hasan left for Cairo, where he wanted to fight for Islamic State, they said.
Wearing orange jumpsuits and shackles, the Edmonds cousins made their initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan in a crowded Chicago courtroom. Hasan had a shaved head and glasses. The elder cousin, Jonas, was bearded.
The men, represented by court-appointed counsel, remained seated during the proceeding. Jonas at times swiveled in his chair and looked at the ceiling.
Both acknowledged to the judge that they understood the charges against them.
Jonas’s attorney, Jim Graham, said his client wouldn’t immediately contest prosecutors’ request to hold him in custody. Hasan’s lawyer, Paul Flynn, requested a bail hearing. Finnegan scheduled it for Monday. She also set an April 6 hearing on whether the U.S. had probable cause to charge the men.
The defense lawyers declined to comment on the case.
The two face as long as 15 years in prison for conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist group and fines of as much as $250,000.
The criminal complaint sworn out by FBI Special Agent Morgan Spurlock included transcripts of messages between the cousins and a government informant.
“To be honest, I’m best with my sidearm (handgun) and then my rifle,” Hasan Edmonds said in a January message, according to the filing.
The exchange referred in Arabic to “kufar,” or infidels, and to “dowlah,” a term for country or state commonly used to refer to Islamic State, Spurlock said.
“We are few in number compared to the kufar army but there are believers like myself hear in America,” Hasan said, according to the filing, which retained his typographical errors. “Either we will make it to dowlah or bring the flames of war to the heart od this land with Allahs promission.”
The case is U.S. v. Edmonds, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).