DOSSIER: Mohammed Hamzah Khan

Mohammed Hamzah Khan Facebook photo, courtesy of NBC

Mohammed Hamzah Khan Facebook photo, courtesy of NBC

FBI counterterrorism personnel appended Khan on Saturday apprehended at O’Hare International Airport on October 4, 2014. Khan, 19, is from the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook. He was planning to fly to Vienna, then Istanbul. From Istanbul, he planned to travel to Esekir, Koya, Adana, Urfa, and then ultimately Syria to join ISIS. Khan was stopped by custom officers after he revealed he was traveling to Istanbul alone for 2-3 days, and FBI agents questioned him further and investigated his home. His room was decorated with ISIS propaganda, including drawings of the ISIS flag, pro-jihadists writings, notes on killing “Nusayri,” and relationships between leaders of the organization. His contact with ISIS, whom Khan met online, gave him a phone number to call when he was in Istanbul. Khan had purchased his plane ticket on September 26, 2014.

Khan is the seventh American charged this year for trying to join ISIS. He can be fined up to $250,000 and face 15 years in prison. His hearing in federal court is set for October 9, 2014.

More young Americans may continue to join ISIS. However, it is unlikely that this number will exceed 10 per year. While these fighters do represent at threat to national security, it is relatively confined to lone wolf / cell actions, creating a low threat that is hard to detect and to intercept.

Axelrad, Jacob. “Why it’s so hard to stop Americans like Mohammed Hamzah Khan from trying to join Islamic State.” CSM. October 7, 2014.

Brunker, Mike. “Illinois Teen Charged With Trying to Travel to Mideast to Join ISIS.” NBC. October 6, 2014.

McNeal, Dana C. “Criminal Complaint.” U.S. v. Mohammed Hamzah Khan. October 4, 2014.

Mullen, Jethro and Ted Rowlands. “Who is Mohammed Hamzah Khan?CNN. October 7, 2014.

Tarm, Michael. “Feds: Illinois Teen Sought to Join Islamic State.” ABC. October 6, 2014.

United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois. “FBI Arrests Suburban Chicago Man For Allegedly Attempting To Support Terrorism Overseas.” October 6, 2014.





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