Federal agents are investigating whether four Minnesota men were trying to travel to Syria, possibly to join up with ISIS, officials said Thursday. One has been charged with lying to the FBI, according to court documents.
Hamza Ahmed, 19, of Minneapolis falsely told FBI agents in November that he didn't know one of the three other men, all of whom traveled by bus to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City in November, according to the court records.
The FBI said surveillance video showed Ahmed and one of the others arriving at the Minneapolis bus station in the same car, checking in their luggage together, waiting together and boarding the bus together.
The three other men, identified only as HMM, MF and ZA, all of them also from Minneapolis, were stopped from boarding their flights at JFK. Officials said Ahmed, who had already boarded his flight, was removed from the plane before it took off.
The three other men aren't charged, but a federal official told NBC News Thursday that investigators are looking into whether all four — ages 19 and 20 — were planning to go to Syria, possibly to join up with ISIS terrorists.
Court documents don't state a reason for that suspicion but they note that Ahmed's Twitter account shows "a lengthy series of messages" between Ahmed and another man from Minnesota known to have gone to Syria, even though Ahmed told investigators he only vaguely knew the man.
— Pete Williams