For the past year, undercover FBI agents in Tucson, Arizona have been closely watching Ahmed Mahad Mohamed and Abdi Yemani Hussein. Both men were all set to head off to the Middle-East and wage jihad. They were arrested Friday, as they waited to board their plane for Egypt. Both men were born in Somalia, the same country that produced controversial Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
The Department of Homeland Security confirms that 21-year-old Mohamed is a “lawful permanent resident of the United States.” Hussein “is a 20-year-old refugee from Somalia.”
According to the charging documents, both men “conspired to knowingly provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization.” The radicals “repeatedly demonstrated their allegiance to and support for ISIS, and have discussed their desire and plans for joining ISIS overseas.” They had no idea that one member of their little Tucson terror cell was an undercover agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The investigation started in August of 2018. Using what the FBI called “a cloud-based messaging application that allows users to exchange messages, photos, videos, and files, both non-secure and secured,” Mohamed started chatting with an FBI “Online Covert Employee.”
Using the screen name “Abu Dujana,” Mohamed told the OCE he was “a Somali supporter of ISIS” and that he was ready to travel to Syria or Iraq “to join ISIS and achieve martyrdom.” He actually wrote, “I love jihad so much [I swear by Allah] I give my life Jihad, I only think about jihad everywhere I go.”
Just don’t let his parents find out, he added. “My father and mom they don’t like jihad if they knew me I want to make hijrah (travel to join the war) they would spy me.” The FBI took that to mean they would turn him in.
He already knew exactly what he wanted to do once he got there. “MOHAMED advised the OCE that if he made it to Syria, he wanted to be the ‘beheading guy.'” In a separate statement he mentioned “I want to be the new jihadi John akhi (my brother) beheading the kuffar (disbelievers) like animal.”
If he didn’t make it out of the country, he was still ready for martyrdom. “If this kuffar stop me I will make attack with truck or anywhere that can kill so many kuffar.” He also boasted, “the best wake up call is Islamic State to get victory or another 911.”
By then, Mohamed had switched to something like Snapchat where the messages are all encrypted and self-destruct shortly after sending. He had a couple thousand dollars already in the bank and was just waiting for his passport.
During the second in person meeting with the undercover agent, Mohamed brought his friend Hussein along. He was just as radical as Mohamed. He also wanted to travel to Syria and join up with the Al-Shabaab faction.
Hussein couldn’t wait to get to Sinai, he said he needs “blood on his hands.” He wanted to be right on the front lines to “kill so many people.” He wanted to travel around the world and “make explosion.” If anyone tried to stop him “he will come to Tucson and the city will die.”
At one point they said they wanted to be “the most wanted terrorists in the world.”
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By filling out the paperwork claiming that Hussein was getting married in Egypt, with Mohamed and the undercover listed as members of the wedding party, both men were able to get their travel documents. Mohamed was even nice enough to get a second job to help pay for Hussein’s plane ticket.
As soon as all the travel documents were approved, they were ready to go. On July 26, the two men and their undercover contact drove together to the airport. They checked in and went through security, making it all the way up to the boarding gate where they were promptly arrested.