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Arizona man helped NYC student join ISIS, prosecutors say

An Arizona man facing charges in Manhattan federal court of providing material support to ISIS helped a New York college student who was later killed fighting in Syria join the terror group, prosecutors said in a new court filing.

The government, in a motion late Monday night describing evidence it wants to use at Mohammed Ahmed el-Gammal’s scheduled Dec. 5 trial, identified the student as Samy Mohammed el-Goarany, a 24-year-old student from Middletown who was attending college in New York City.

Prosecutors also want to offer into evidence a picture of a handwritten letter from el-Goarany sent to a relative last November via an instant messaging service, informing them that he had been killed fighting in Syria.

“If you’re reading this then know that I’ve been killed in battle and am now with our Lord InshaAllah,” the letter said. “…We will win this war one day, this war between Iman (Belief) and kufr (Disbelief) between Good and Evil.”

When el-Gammal was charged in September 2015, he was accused of helping a student to join ISIS, but the student was not named, and the government did not previously reveal evidence that the student was later killed.

In Tuesday’s filings, prosecutors also revealed that el-Gammal and el-Goarany first met over Facebook in 2014, and then at el-Goarany’s suggestion started using an encrypted messaging app that former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden used when he was on the run.

Defense lawyers for el-Gammal, in a filing, opposed allowing a jury to hear about the letter, saying el-Goarany had died. They said it hadn’t been authenticated and might have been fabricated so that el-Goarany could disappear and be presumed dead.


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