American Federal agents arrested two Somalis Friday at Tucson International Airport, as they were travelling to Egypt to join the Islamic State’s (IS) branch in North Sinai.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said Ahmed Mohamed and Abdi Hussein were arrested at the airport on 26 July and that the pair had been communicating with an undercover agent posing as a supporter of IS.
US authorities said the pair bought tickets to travel to Egypt and were arrested after checking into their flights and passing through security.
The bureau said that Mohamed started talking with an undercover employee on an unnamed social media platform in August 2018. The conversation continued with a second FBI agent on a different social media platform that December.
The FBI added Mohamed and Hussein wanted to travel overseas to fight for ISIS or conduct an attack within the United States.
Mohamed told the undercover agent, “[I]f I go to Syria I want to be the beheading person,” according to court documents published on American media. The FBI said he also met with the undercover agent several times in Tucson, and brought Abdi to one of those meetings.
At a following meeting, the FBI said Hussein mentioned he wanted “to be on the front line” and “kill so many people.”
Mohamed and Hussein came to the US as Somali refugees. Mohamed had obtained lawful permanent resident status by the time of his arrest, but Hussein remains a refugee, the FBI said.
In December 2018, a 23-year-old German-Egyptian citizen was arrested by Egyptian security after it accused him of terrorist links and that he had travelled to Egypt to join IS militants in North Sinai. Another German citizen was arrested in the same month over the same charge. Both were deported back to Germany.