Michigan man, Indiana woman charged with fighting for ISIS overseas

Both the man and woman will face charges in the U.S.
by Pete Williams /  / Updated 
Image: Members of Syrian Democratic Forces hold a flag of the Islamic State militants recovered at a building next to the stadium in Raqqa
Members of Syrian Democratic Forces hold a flag of the Islamic State militants recovered at a building next to the stadium in Raqqa, Syria on October 4, 2017.Erik de Castro / Reuters file

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Federal prosecutors revealed Tuesday that a Michigan man and an Indiana woman have been brought back to the United States to face charges related to the ISIS terror group in Syria.

Court documents said that 28-year-old Ibraheem Izzy Musaibli of Dearborn was captured in Syria by coalition forces and transferred to U.S. custody. He was to be arraigned July 25 at the federal courthouse in Detroit.

"Musaibli’s alleged provision of material support to ISIS put the United States at risk and may have endangered the lives of countless innocent people," said John Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

Musaibli was charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization in the form of his own personal services. Prosecutors said he joined ISIS in April 2015 and was continuing to support the terror group until he was captured in June.

Matthew Schneider, the U.S. attorney in Detroit, said Musaibli supported ISIS for a substantial period.

"During that same time, American-backed coalition forces were fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria," Schneider said.

Investigators said that Musaibli is a natural born U.S. citizen who was raised in Dearborn, dropped out of high school and helped his family operate a perfume store. Family members told the Detroit News that he moved to Yemen and was lured to Syria.

Separately, Samantha Elhassani of Indiana was charged with making false statements to the FBI. She was to appear for an initial hearing at the federal courthouse in Hammond at a later date, officials said.

She was brought to the U.S. along with her four minor children, who are U.S. citizens. They are now in the care of the Indiana Department of Child Services. Authorities said one of the children, a ten-year-old boy, had appeared in an ISIS propaganda video.

Investigators say she traveled to Syria with the children and her husband, who was killed while fighting with ISIS. In a March interview with the BBC and the PBS program "Frontline," Elhassani said her husband tricked the family into traveling to ISIS territory.

"The first think I say to him is, 'You're crazy and I'm leaving.' And he said with a big smile on his face, 'Go head. You can try, but you won't make it.'"

Defense Department officials said the Americans were brought back to the U.S. aboard a U.S. military aircraft.

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