By Clare Kim – MSNBC / 09/16/14 10:13 PM — UPDATED 09/17/14 07:05 AM
A federal grand jury has charged a Rochester, N.Y. man on Tuesday with attempting to provide “material support and resources” to the terrorist organization ISIS.
Federal agents arrested Mufid Elfgeeh, a 30-year-old naturalized citizen from Yemen, in May after he tried to purchase two handguns and two silencers from an undercover FBI informant in order to kill U.S. military members and local members of the Muslim community.
The news of Elfgeeh’s arrest comes amid reports of a propaganda video, distributed by ISIS, which has appeared on YouTube. Entitled “Flames of War”, it appears to be a promo for an upcoming release. The video shows clips of previously carried out attacks on U.S. forces, following by an image of the White House. It ends with flames engulfing images of American troops. It is unclear when and where the video was shot.
Prosecutors accused Elfgeeh of supporting the Islamic State from December 2013 till May 2014. Authorities began investigating Elfgeeh since 2013 after a series of anti-American tweets pointed to an evident allegiance to al Qaeda.
According to the criminal complaint filed in May, Elfgeeh used Twitter to post and re-post tweets “expressing support of various terrorist groups and violent jihad” and he sought “donations to assist jihadist fighters in Syria.”
One tweet read, “al-Qa’ida said it loud and clear: we are fighting the American invasion and their hegemony over the earth and the people.”
“Every Iraqi Sunni jihadist is defined as a terrorist in the international society; they don’t know that the State of Iraq and Sham [ISIL] will one day rule the world with the will of Allah,” Elfgeeh re-tweeted.
He also urged people to donate money to the foreign terrorist groups, even suggesting that they donate a third of their salaries to Syrian jihadists.
The prosecutors’ indictment slapped seven criminal charges against the man—three counts of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist group, one count of attempting to kill “officers and employees of the U.S.,” two counts of possession of an unregistered firearm silencer, and one count of possession of firearms and silencers in furtherance of a violent crime.
Elfgeeh, who operates Halal Mojo and Food Mart in Rochester, allegedly told one FBI informant during a recorded telephone conversation, “I’m thinking about doing something here to be honest with you. I’m thinking about just go buy a big automatic gun from off the street or something and a lot of bullets and just put on a vest or whatever and just go around and start shooting.”
On Monday, U.S. Attorney William Hochul said that Elfgeeh faces 10 years in prison for each silencer and the possibility of a $250,000 fine. Elfgeeh is currently being detained in Monroe County Jail and a bail hearing has been set for June 16.