By Larry Freund of VOA News in New York City — Two Americans were arrested Saturday night at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport as they allegedly prepared to travel to Somalia to join a terror group there.
U.S. authorities say the two men arrested as they prepared to board separate flights to Egypt are Mohamed Hamoud Alessa, age 20, and Carlos Eduardo Almonte, age 26. According to Federal officials, their final destination was Somalia, where they planned to join a militant group, al-Shabab, which is linked to the al-Qaida terrorist organization.
Officials say the two men have been under investigation since 2006 and that they traveled to Jordan in 2007. According to a formal complaint filed by U.S. officials, an undercover New York City police officer recorded conversations with the men in which they spoke about carrying out jihad, or holy war, against Americans.
According to New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, the two men are American citizens. They live in the state of New Jersey, near New York City.
Federal authorities say the men face charges of conspiring to kill, maim and kidnap persons outside the United States. According to the formal government charges, the men physically conditioned themselves, engaged in tactical training and acquired military gear. The government also says the men discussed what they said was their obligation to wage violent jihad and expressed a willingness to commit acts of violence in the United States.
The two men are scheduled to be arraigned in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, on Monday.