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US citizen charged with allegedly supporting terror group after being motivated by Hamas

The suspect allegedly warned online that "Jihad" would be "coming soon to a US location near you."

Published: December 31, 2023 1:34pm

A 23-year-old U.S. citizen faces federal charges for allegedly trying to provide material support to al Shabaab, a designated foreign terrorist organization, after being inspired by Hamas' Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel, prosecutors said. 

The citizen, Karrem Nasr, was arrested earlier this month in Kenya and brought to the United States last week, the New York Southern District U.S. Attorney's Office said Friday. 

Nasr moved from New Jersey to Egypt around July 2023, and around November, he began repeatedly expressing a desire and plans to join al Shabaab and wage violent jihad against the U.S. and its allies, including in communications with a confidential FBI source who posed as a terrorist group facilitator, prosecutors said. 

Nasr had been thinking about joining a jihadist movement for some time, per conversations with the source and his online posts, but he said he became particularly motivated to do so after Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists murdered about 1,200 people and took 240 others captive, according to officials.

In online posts highlighted in the complaint, Nasr allegedly warned that "Jihad" would be "coming soon to a US location near you," along with emojis of an airplane, a bomb and a fire. 

He had flown on Dec. 14 from Egypt to Kenya, where he planned to meet al Shabaab members to travel together to Somalia for training, but Kenyan officials took him into custody that day, the U.S. attorney's office said. 

Al Shabaab has been on the State Department's list of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations since 2008. The group seeks to form an Islamic State in Somalia and has carried out major attacks across Somalia, Kenya and Uganda, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Nasr's arrest comes as the FBI and other federal agencies have warned about an increased threat environment following the Hamas attack on Israel. Meanwhile, FBI Director Christopher Wray said in October that Hamas is presenting the greatest terrorism threat to the United States since the height of the Islamic State.

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on X or Instagram.

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