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Digging Deeper: Possible ISIS connection to Tucson

TUCSON – Two Tucson men are behind bars and facing federal terrorism charges.

News 4 Tucson obtained court documents that revealed the depth of the plan involving the terrorist group, ISIS.

Retired FBI agent who was the assistant director for counterintelligence said, “These two guys showed their clear intent to behead people, to kill people, as many as possible.”

Frank Figliuzzi reacted to a 16-page criminal complaint against Ahmed Mahad Mohamed and Abdi Yemani Hussein.

Figliuzzi, a Tucsonan, said he was shocked at how close to home the investigation and arrests hit.

“They referred specifically to coming back to Tucson to bring death to Tucson if they failed in their travel toward the Middle East,” according to court documents.

The men are accused of providing material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations.

Prosecutors said they repeatedly demonstrated their allegiance to and support for ISIS.

They discussed with each other and to an undercover FBI agent, their desire and plans for joining ISIS overseas.

They booked a flight departing Tucson on July 26 to Cairo, Egypt to join ISIS.

The criminal complaint goes on to say, Hussein said he wanted to “Travel around the world, and make “explosion” and, that he wanted to blow up the white house.

Prosecutors said Mohamed told the undercover FBI agent, “The best wake-up call is Islamic state to get a victory or another 9/11.”

Figliuzzi added, “There’s no question that these two guys posed a real danger, and that’s what resulted in their quick arrest at Tucson airport.”

His experience in counterterrorism and counterintelligence has shown him as it did in this case that technology – especially social media – has given would-be terrorists an easy way to communicate and conspire.  He called that online radicalization.

“I’m sure the FBI is digging deeply into what that process looked like. But what we’re seeing is even faster and faster radicalization of younger and younger people who are seeking some cause; seeking to identify with something.”

The two men are scheduled for detention hearings in Federal Court.

The FBI sent this statement to News 4 Tucson:



Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.
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