First American ISIS recruiter given 22 years in jail

An American man was sentenced on Thursday to 22.5 years in prison Thursday after trying to recruit FBI informants to the Islamic State (ISIS) group in Syria.

Mufid Elfgeeh, 32, from Rochester in upstate New York, pleaded guilty in December to attempting to provide material support to the extremists and was described by prosecutors as "one of the first" ISIS recruiters captured in the United States.

Prosecutors said Elfgeeh spread ISIS propaganda on social media, sought funds for extremists and attempted to recruit and send two individuals — both of whom were cooperating with the FBI — to Syria to fight with ISIS.

He was sentenced on the same day that Secretary of State John Kerry said ISIS's slaughter of Christians, Yazidis and Shiites amounts to genocide.

"While we are confident that keeping Mr. Elfgeeh in prison for the next two decades will keep us safer, there continues to exist a pervasive, persistent and ever-changing terrorism threat," said Adam Cohen, FBI chief in Buffalo, New York.

"This threat remains among the highest priorities for the FBI and the intelligence community," he added.

Prosecutors said he sent ISIS propaganda videos to one would-be fighter, arranged for an English-speaking contact in Iraq to communicate with that person via Facebook and paid $240 to help the individual obtain a passport.

Elfgeeh also bought the pair of FBI informants a laptop and a camera to take to Syria, offered them tips on how to travel without being detected and arranged for a contact overseas to coordinate the logistics of the trip.

Prosecutors say Elfgeeh sent $600 to a third person in Yemen also destined to help them travel to Syria to join the ISIS group.

The case is just another example of radicalization, and it comes one week after an American Air Force veteran who tried to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS was found guilty of trying to provide the jihadist group with material support.

Previous examples include the case of a 23-year-old recently arrested by the FBI for planning a shooting attack in Milwaukee. The man, Samy Mohamed Hamzeh, was found to have originally planned to attack Israelis.

The phenomenon was perhaps best recently illustrated in the December shooting attack in San Bernardino, California, where the attackers are believed to had been radicalized for quite some time.

AFP contributed to this report.


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