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Terrorism News

A collection of open-source terrorism news from around the world.
Keyword: worldwide terrorism threats & domestic extremist threats & trends

Two of seven Minnesota men accused of plotting to go to Syria to join the Islamic State group face additional charges of financial aid fraud, according to a federal indictment unsealed Tuesday.  The indictment alleges Hamza Naj Ahmed, 21, and Hanad Mustafe Musse, 19, used federal financial aid to purchase plane tickets.  Authorities say they were part of a group that took a bus from Minneapolis to New York last November, and were stopped at JFK Airport before they could travel overseas.

The two men are among seven already charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.  Authorities have described the men as friends in Minnesota's Somali community who recruited and inspired each other and met secretly to plan travel to Syria.

Read more:  ABC News

The FBI on Thursday arrested an Iraqi-born American citizen in Texas, alleging he traveled to Syria to fight with ISIS terrorists and returned to the U.S.  The case against Bilal Abood is one indication of federal counterterrorism officials' new stance on terrorism cases in light of the recent foiled terrorist attack in Garland, Texas, against a Mohammed cartoon contest event.  Prosecutors charged Abood with lying to the FBI, but the case represents much more. Abood is one of hundreds of people the FBI is monitoring in some way, many of whom investigators suspect could be motivated to carry out attacks but though the evidence remains difficult to assemble.

Abood, who formerly worked as an interpreter for the U.S. Army in Iraq, migrated to the U.S. in 2009.  The FBI alleges that agents stopped Abood as he tried to travel in 2013, when he claimed he was planning to visit family in Iraq.  He later told the FBI in an interview in 2013 that he actually was planning to travel to Syria to fight with the Free Syrian Army, a rebel faction fighting the Assad regime that has in the past enjoyed some U.S. support.  Abood later left the U.S. for Turkey via Mexico, the FBI alleges.

Read more: CNN

About 20 minutes before the shooting at a Texas cartoon contest that featured images of the Prophet Muhammad, a final tweet posted on an account linked to one of the gunmen said: "May Allah accept us as mujahideen," or holy warriors.

Among the hashtags used by the account was "(hash)texasattack."

Federal authorities confirm the Twitter account belonged to 31-year-old Elton Simpson, a Phoenix man who, along with another gunman, opened fire Sunday in the Dallas suburb of Garland, said Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. The Texas congressman was briefed on the investigation by federal law enforcement officials.

McCaul said the Twitter account linked to Simpson included images of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born radical cleric killed in a CIA drone strike in Yemen. But the congressman stopped short of saying law enforcement had missed a red flag.

Read more: AP

The FBI on Monday was searching the Arizona apartment of two men killed late Sunday outside a Texas art show featuring cartoon depictions of the Prophet Mohammed.
"The two gunmen who were involved in the shooting in Dallas... were determined to be from Phoenix, located at this property," Assistant Special Agent in Charge John Lannarelli said.
The shooting took place outside the Mohammed Art Exhibit event at the Curtis Culwell Center in suburban Garland, Texas. Police said the suspects began shooting at a security guard, who was wounded in the leg. Police then killed both suspects.
One of the suspects has been identified as Elton Simpson, 30, who was convicted in a terror investigation five years ago, but was given probation. Simpson is believed to be the man who tweeted several ominous messages before the Garland incident, using the hashtag #texasattack.
Read more: USA Today
A prominent female Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) online recruiter has been revealed by a UK television news program as a student who lived in the U.S., and had recently been in Seattle.  On Twitter, she was known as @_UmmWaqqas, and is pictured covered completely in black. She is known for her links to women who travel to Syria and Iraq to marry ISIS fighters.
“I'm actually lost for words,” one of the woman’s school friends, who asked to stay anonymous, told Channel 4 News. Friends said she lived a normal life as a teenager.  While the woman’s account has since been suspended, it was known for its public support of ISIS’s murder of a Jordanian pilot, seen in graphic footage released in February.
At the time, the ISIS-linked account tweeted: “an eye for an eye if you ask me!”, and: “I now get why they caged the man & then poured concrete on him ... Whenever the Muslims are bombed in their homes they have nowhere to run.”  According to Channel 4, the Twitter user refused to answer allegations about her activities and whereabouts when they approached her on social media sites.
Source: Al-Arabiya