Arizona Man Charged with Providing Material Support to ISIL
Ahmed Mohammed El Gammal, aka Jammie Gammal, 42, of Avondale, Arizona, was indicted today for providing and conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization, as well as for aiding and abetting the receipt of military-type training from ISIL and conspiring to receive such training.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York, Assistant Director in Charge Diego G. Rodriguez of the FBI’s New York Field Office and Commissioner William J. Bratton of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) made the announcement.
“Ahmed Mohammed El Gammal is charged with conspiring to provide and providing material support to ISIL,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “The National Security Division’s highest priority is counterterrorism, and we will continue to pursue justice against those who seek to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations.”
“As alleged, Ahmed Mohammed el Gammal actively touted online his support for ISIL and its terrorist ways, ultimately meeting and assisting a New York college student to travel to Syria to obtain military training from ISIL,” said U.S. Attorney Bharara. “Individuals like Gammal who allegedly serve as facilitators for ISIL fuel the hatred and radicalization that keep terrorist organizations like ISIL alive.”
“As alleged, Gammal helped a college student in New York receive terrorist training in Syria through a contact in Turkey, in order to support ISIL,” said Assistant Director in Charge Rodriguez. “These relationships were allegedly made and solidified through the internet while Gammal was in Arizona. This is another example of how social media is utilized for nefarious and criminal purposes around the world. The identification of the conspiracy, and arrest today, demonstrate how federal and local law enforcement continue to work together to mitigate such threats globally and protect the United States.”
“This investigation demonstrates how easily people can support a terrorist organization without ever meeting, from the anonymity of their own computer and hidden behind obscure social media accounts and the veil of the internet,” said Commissioner Bratton. “I commend the detectives and agents on the Manhattan based Joint Terrorism Task Force and the prosecutors of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District for their unwavering commitment to keeping our city safe.”
As alleged in the indictment returned today and the complaint unsealed yesterday in the Southern District of New York:
In August 2014, a 24-year-old New York City resident (CC-1) learned via social media that El Gammal had posted social media comments that supported ISIL. Minutes later, CC-1 contacted El Gammal. Over the next several months, CC-1 and El Gammal continued corresponding over the Internet, although CC-1 deleted many of these exchanges.
In the midst of these communications, in October 2014, El Gammal traveled to Manhattan, New York, where CC-1 was enrolled in college, and contacted and met with CC-1. While in New York City, El Gammal also contacted another co-conspirator (CC-2), who lived in Turkey, about CC-1’s plans to travel to the Middle East. El Gammal later provided CC-1 with social media contact information for CC-2. Thereafter, El Gammal and CC-2 had multiple social media exchanges about CC-1 traveling to the Middle East. In addition, CC-1 began communicating with CC-2, introducing himself as a friend of “Gammal’s.”
In late January 2015, CC-1 abruptly left New York City for Istanbul. After CC-1 arrived in Turkey, El Gammal continued to communicate with him over the Internet, providing advice on traveling toward Syria and on meeting with CC-2. After CC-1 arrived in Syria, he received military-type training from ISIL between early February and at least early May 2015.
On May 7, 2015, CC-1 reported to El Gammal that “everything [was] going according to plan.”
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El Gammal is charged with one count of providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and one count of conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of receiving military-type training from a designated foreign terrorist organization, which carries a mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison; and one count of conspiring to receive military-type training from a designated foreign terrorist organization, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as the defendant’s sentence, if any, will be determined by a judge.
El Gammal was arrested on Aug. 24, 2015, in Avondale, and presented in federal court in the District of Arizona, pursuant to a criminal complaint. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos of the Southern District of New York.
Assistant Attorney General Carlin joins U.S Attorney Bharara in praising the outstanding investigative efforts of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force. The FBI’s Phoenix Field Office also provided valuable assistance.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brendan F. Quigley, Negar Tekeei and Andrea L. Surratt of the Southern District of New York, with assistance from Trial Attorney Ranganath Manthripragada of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Arizona also provided significant assistance.
The charges contained in the indictment and the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.