An Islamic State terror group sympathizer from Arizona has been arrested and charged in federal court in Manhattan with helping a New York college student travel to Syria and join the group as a fighter, officials said Thursday.
Ahmed Mohammed el Gammal, also known as Jammie Gammal, 42, of Avondale, Arizona, allegedly met the New York student over social media, traveled to New York to help coordinate his travel to Istanbul, and put him in touch with a third co-conspirator in Turkey who helped him link up with the Islamic State in Syria.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan said Gammal was currently in custody in Arizona, and would be transferred to New York to face charges including conspiracy and providing material support to a terrorist organization, which could put him in prison for as many as 55 years.
The New York student he recruited was described as being from Orange County and attending college in Manhattan, but was not named. The charges said he sneaked overseas without telling his family, and had received military training from the Islamic State between February and "at least May 2015."
Diego Rodriguez, head of the FBI's New York office, said the recruitment and travel was "another example of how social media is utilized for nefarious and criminal purposes around the world."