- Muhanad Budawi, 24, and NaderElhuzayel, 24, both of Anaheim, California, were arrested on Thursday
- Elhuzayel was detained at Los Angeles International Airportand Budawi in Orange County
- Nader Elhuzayel’s father, Salem, said that his son was going to visit relatives in Palestine and had no involvement with the terrorist group
- The men were expected to be charged Friday in federal court in Santa Ana
Two men accused of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State militant group have been arrested, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday.
Federal prosecutors alleged that both men intended to travel overseas to join the group.
Muhanad Budawi, 24, and Nader Elhuzayel, 24, both of Anaheim, California, were arrested on Thursday, prosecutors said.
Elhuzayel was detained at Los Angeles International Airport and Budawi in Orange County.
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The men were expected to be charged Friday in federal court in Santa Ana in the probe conducted by a joint terrorism task force made up of federal and local authorities.
The FBI declined to give further details about the incident.
According to an FBI affidavit seen by The LA Times, the agency was aware of the young men’s social media activity about ISIS and several phone conversations.
But their commitment to the terrorist cause hardened earlier this month when the pair together bought a one-way ticket for Elhuzayel to fly to Turkey and on to Tel Aviv.
Elhuzayel mentioned visiting Palestinian relatives then making his way to the battlefield by crossing into Egypt.
Badawi had not travel plans but was arrested because he also paid for Elhuzayel’s airfare.
The affidavit also revealed that Elhuzayel had made plans over social media to marry an ISIS supporter while in Palestine and the pair professed love for each other.
According to the court documents: ‘Early in their communications, the woman told Elhuzayel that she is pro-ISIL, and that she had tried to travel to the Islamic State but was detained and returned to her home in Palestine.
‘Elhuzayel responded by telling the woman that he too is pro-ISIL and that he has the same beliefs and goals as the woman.’
However the parents of one of the young men told KTLA that he had been wrongly accused.
Nader Elhuzayel’s father, Salem, said that his son was going to visit relatives in Palestine and had no involvement with the terrorist group.
The father told KTLA: ‘No way that he kept that from us. Nader is just an innocent human being who was traveling to go home to see his family and enjoy a stay of one, two months and then come back.’
He added: ‘I think they’re looking for a victim.’
The young man’s mother, Fakar, said the family were being targeted because they were Muslim and from the Middle East.
Salem Elhuzayel said FBI and SWAT officials searched the family’s Anaheim motel room after they returned from the airport.
- Two O.C. men wanted to become martyrs, fight for Islamic State, feds allege – LA Times
- 2 Men Arrested in SoCal for Allegedly Planning to Join Islamic State Group ID’d | KTLA