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FBI arrests US national in Kenya on his way to join Al-Shabaab

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) tricks US national into arrest in Kenya before Joining Al-Shabaab militant group.

An effort by a US national identified as Karrem Nasr, also known as Ghareeb Al-Muhajir, to join Al Shabaab in Nairobi has been thwarted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

According to a statement released by the US Department of Justice, the defendant was apprehended after he was tricked by an FBI agent.

The FBI agent pretended to be an intermediary between terrorist groups. 

In correspondence with the FBI agent and online postings, Nasr claimed to have been considering jihad for some time, with a specific motivation to join the jihad by October 7, 2023.

In further communications with the FBI agent, Nasr expressed his intent to join al Shabaab to receive military training and engage in jihad, that he was prepared to kill and be killed, and that he specifically aspired to be a martyr for the jihadist cause.  

According to the Department of Justice, the suspect took specific steps to join and receive military training from al Shabaab, including making flight and lodging reservations for travel to Kenya, where he planned to meet members of al Shabaab for further travel to Somalia to join and train with the group.  

The 23-year-old US national booked a flight for December 14, 2023, from Egypt to Kenya to ultimately join and train with al Shabaab.  

However, the FBI agent used the information to share with Kenyan authorities. Kenyan authorities apprehended him immediately after landing in the country from Egypt.

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The suspect was recently processed and transferred to the US where he is wanted.

“Nasr, 23, of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, is charged with attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison,” the Department of Justice wrote.

“The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.”

Commenting on the case, FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith said: “Karrem Nasr traveled across the globe in an alleged attempt to join the ranks of a foreign terrorist organization – an organization that has repeatedly expressed its desire to harm Americans around the world. This investigation highlights the ongoing efforts of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force and our domestic and international law enforcement partners to protect the U.S. against any form of terrorism and ensure the safety of our community.”

The US thanked the FBI agent who tricked the suspect before his arrest in Kenya.

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