A US-born Chicago man who allegedly planned to travel to Somalia with hopes of joining Islamic terror groups, al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab, was arrested by FBI agents and charged with attempting to provide material support through the use of a weapon of mass destruction.
According to the FBI complaint, Shaker Masri spent the past three weeks planning a trip to Somalia, where he planned to purchase weapons and train for jihadist fighting. Mr. Masri intended to pose as an international gold importer, the complaint says.
He made plans with a work colleague who doubled as an FBI informant. In recordings of several phone conversations and face-to-face meetings, Masri, who was born in Alabama, indicated he did not plan to reach age 30 but wanted “a suicide mission” because this is what “infidels” “hate the most,” he said.
Masri’s plans apparently changed over time, but they all allegedly ended in Somalia. According to the FBI complaint, he said he made advance contact with a recruiter for Al Shabab, which would train and place him in Al Muhajiroun, a local militant group.
Masri also apparently directed rage at US troops. On July 31, according to the complaint, Masri was recorded observing four US soldiers and saying he wished he could blow them up on a suicide mission. When asked why he would waste such efforts on only four soldiers, Masri reconsiders his wish, saying that, if given the opportunity, he would wait until he could strike a busload of soldiers.
What makes this arrest disturbing, says Thomas Mockaitis, a terrorism expert at DePaul University in Chicago, is that it is further evidence that Islamic extremism is being fostered on US soil through the recruitment of US citizens.
“There is growing concern of this recruitment in the US,” Mr. Mockaitis says. “[Masri] was obviously not very bright…. But for every one you catch, how many out there do you not catch?” CS Monitor