Suspect in Maryland took money for jihad

December 21, 2015

Mohamed Elshinawy, a Maryland resident, received $1,000 from a terrorist suspect in Egypt through Western Union.  That caught the attention of investigators.  They learned that Elshinaway had pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).  They also watched while Elshinawy accepted another $8K that he believed was money from ISIS to help him carry out a terrorist attack in the United States.  Elshinawy now claims that he was simply trying to defraud ISIS.  Yeah, because stealing money from an international terrorist organization is the smartest way to make a little cash on the side…

From the Baltimore Sun on Dec. 14:

Feds: Edgewood man pledged allegiance to Islamic State, received funds from Egypt

A Harford County man pledged allegiance to the self-proclaimed Islamic State and received thousands of dollars from overseas to carry out an attack, federal prosecutors said Monday.

Mohamed Elshinawy, 30, of Edgewood was arrested Friday on charges of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and other offenses, federal prosecutors said.

The criminal complaint filed against Elshinawy lays out extensive communications the FBI says he had with contacts overseas and alleges he received at least $8,700 he believed was from the Islamic State terror group, sometimes called ISIL.

“When confronted by the FBI, he lied in order to conceal his support for ISIL and the steps he took to provide material support to the deadly foreign terrorist organization,” Assistant U.S. Attorney General John P. Carlin said in a statement.

“He will now be held accountable for these crimes.”

It is not clear in court papers if prosecutors believe the money wired to him was from the terrorist group or from a sympathizer.

Federal authorities have brought charges against dozens of people they say are Islamic State supporters, but terrorism analysts said the allegation that Elshinawy might have received funding from the group is new.

Michael Greenberger, director of the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security, said the charges represent another example of ISIL’s reach from its bases in the Middle East and the group’s hope to cause mayhem in the United States.

“It appears they have enough money to be able to set out a lot of lures, hoping that one lure will catch somebody who’s willing to engage in dangerous activity,” Greenberger said.

A couple who investigators believe were inspired by ISIL killed 14 people in a shooting rampage this month at a government facility in San Bernardino, Calif. The group, which controls territory in Syria and Iraq, has claimed responsibility for attacks that have killed scores in Paris, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt.

Elshinawy is the first person to be charged by federal prosecutors in Maryland for alleged ties to the group. It was unclear Monday where he was being held.

No one answered the door Monday afternoon at his address, a townhouse in the 300 block of McCann St. in a neighborhood called Harford Commons, which has several blocks of identical green-and-white one-story homes. A neighbor said she had seen FBI agents in the area but assumed it had to do with drug dealing rather than a terrorism case.

Agents first interviewed Elshinawy in July, after learning about a suspicious $1,000 wire transfer he received from Egypt, according to the criminal complaint.

Elshinawy initially said the money was from his mother before changing his story and admitting he had been in contact with a childhood friend who had been arrested in Egypt on terror charges, an FBI agent wrote in the complaint. The friend had fled to Syria, but Elshinawy said the friend put him in touch with an ISIL operative who sent the money, the FBI says.

Elshinawy said the operative did not give him any guidance on how to carry out an attack but cited the shooting at a contest featuring cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in Garland, Texas, as an example, according to the FBI…

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