GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA – A former resident of Florida suspected of travelling to Turkey and seeking to join the Islamic State party was charged with terrorism on Tuesday.
According to court documents, a federal grand jury in Gainesville formally charged Mohamed Fathy Suliman, 33, a U.S. citizen, with seeking to provide material support to a designated international terrorist group. He faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted.
“Protecting national security is a top priority of this office,” Lawrence Keefe, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Florida, said in a statement. “We are absolutely committed to deterring, disrupting and dismantling the plans of anyone who seeks to support a designated foreign terrorist organization.”
Suliman booked a one-way flight in June 2014 from Orlando to Alexandria, Egypt, with stops in Chicago and Istanbul, according to the criminal complaint. Suliman charged cash for a one-way airline ticket to the Turkish/Syrian border instead of going to Egypt, officials said. Turkish authorities detained Suliman and accused him of illegally crossing into Syria. Eventually, he was sent back to the United States.
A search of Suliman’s emails found attachments containing separate audio files, officials said, consisting of messages calling for jihad.
Suliman’s counsel did not respond to an email requesting comment on the case immediately.