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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

Friday, August 10, 2018

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Former Chicago Man for Attempting to Join ISIS

CHICAGO — A federal grand jury has indicted a former Chicago man for allegedly attempting to join the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham.

FARESS MUHAMMAD SHRAITEH, 21, is charged with one count of conspiracy to provide material support and resources to ISIS, and one count of attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS.  The indictment was returned Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

Shraiteh is a United States citizen who formerly resided in Chicago and now lives in Israel.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the U.S. Department of Justice; and Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The case was investigated by the Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is comprised of representatives from the FBI and numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

According to the indictment, Shraiteh and two other individuals began conspiring to join ISIS in November 2014.  In May 2015 the trio traveled from Chicago to Egypt, where they allegedly spent time in Cairo and Sharm El-Sheik, before flying to Istanbul, Turkey.  Shraiteh was denied entry into Turkey, while the two others were allowed in, the indictment states.  Shraiteh went to Israel, where he has family, and later communicated with one of the other individuals that he planned to renew his passport and join them, the charges allege.

One of the other individuals was later killed while conducting a suicide attack on behalf of ISIS, the indictment states.  The charges allege that Shraiteh knew ISIS was a terrorist organization when he conspired to join it.

Each charge in the indictment is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  Shraiteh is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Barry Jonas and Peter S. Salib of the Northern District of Illinois, and Trial Attorney Lolita Lukose of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

National Security
Updated August 10, 2018