Six men arrested in the United States over the weekend as the result of a joint terrorism task force investigation had been working for 10 months to join the ranks of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, or ISIS, authorities say.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed that officials in California and Minnesota executed a half-dozen arrests on Sunday related to the FBI’s on-going efforts against supposed US-based sympathizers of the extremist group also known as ISIS or ISIL.
"We have a terror recruiting problem in Minnesota," US Attorney for Minnesota Andrew Luger said during the press conference.
“As described in the criminal complaint, these men worked over the course of the last 10 months to join ISIL,” said Luger. “Even when their co-conspirators were caught and charged, they continued to seek new and creative ways to leave Minnesota to fight for a terror group. "
According to the FBI, authorities on Sunday arrested Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, Adnan Farah, Hanad Mustafe Musse and Guled Ali Omar in Minneapolis, and Abdirahman Yasin Daud and Mohamed Abdihamid Farah were arrested in California after driving from Minneapolis to San Diego. All the accused are between the ages of 19 and 21.
A Somali woman who identified herself as the mother of two of the men arrested told MPR News that the FBI arrived at her Twin Cities home at around noon on Sunday and arrested one of her sons. According to the woman, her other son was arrested in San Diego.
The woman, who has not been named, also told MPR that she spoke with another Somali woman who said her son had been arrested in Minneapolis early Sunday as well.
In February, National Public Radio reported that at least 11 men and one woman with ties to Minneapolis have traveled to Syria since 2013, where ISIS continues to operate despite a multi-nation military effort intended and dismantling and degrading the group.
“The community is in a state of confusion,” Omar Jamal, a Somali activist in Minneapolis, told the Star-Tribune on Sunday night. “They don’t know what is going on. … This is a very serious issue. We as a community are concerned about losing our kids to [ISIL].”
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, upwards of 22 young Somali men have traveled overseas since 2007 to join the ranks of Al-Shabab, a Somali-based extremist group.