US & Canada

Former US National Guard soldier jailed for IS support

An Islamic State flag is seen in this picture illustration taken February 18, 2016 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption During a six-month trip to Africa in 2015, Mohamed Jalloh met with IS members in Nigeria

A former US National Guard soldier who was convicted of plotting to aid the Islamic State group has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Mohamed Jalloh, 27, a naturalised US citizen, pleaded guilty in October 2016 to providing material support to a foreign terrorist organisation.

Jalloh told investigators he had also tried to travel to Libya and considered a shooting attack against US soldiers.

In September 2016, another soldier was sentenced for supporting the group.

Former National Guard specialist Hasan Edmonds was given 30 years in prison for planning an attack against soldiers at the Joliet Armory in Illinois.

Jalloh, of Sterling, Virginia, quit the National Guard after hearing lectures from radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, according to a statement from the US Department of Justice.

During a six-month trip to Africa in 2015, Jalloh met with IS members in Nigeria.

He is one of 100 people in the US to be charged with terror offences related to IS since 2014, according to the George Washington University Extremism Tracker.

What is the US Army National Guard?

  • Each US state, district, and territory has a national guard;
  • State governors serve as commander-in-chief, but the US president can deploy them to assist national forces;
  • Often called "citizen soldiers", they maintain civilian jobs and usually train for one weekend each month plus one longer multi-week training session each year;
  • They are usually deployed to deal with civil emergencies or natural disasters, but many have been deployed overseas - especially in Iraq

He claimed to know how to shoot guns, and stated that he had considered carrying out a shooting rampage similar to the attack against Fort Hood, Texas where 13 people died.

While visiting Niger, he boarded a truck to Libya, but sneaked off 18 hours into the trip.

"Guys in the truck would whip people with a hose to pack you in," Jalloh said, according to court documents seen by Associated Press.

"This was the worst, most scary situation that I had ever been in as an adult."

Before returning to the US, an IS recruiter put him in contact with a man who said he would help carry out the attack. But the man was an undercover government informant.

Jalloh also arranged through the informant to send a $500 (£400) donation to the group.

During the trial, Jalloh's lawyers described his experience with IS "a flirtation" that stemmed from a difficult childhood in war-torn Sierra Leone.

"I feel like a complete idiot for accepting such a superficial and dishonest interpretation of Islam," Jalloh wrote in a letter to the court.

In a separate case in New York, a 21-year-old former college student pleaded guilty to aiding the same terror group.

Munther Omar Saleh had planned to attack New York City using a pressure cooker bomb, prosecutors alleged, and had attacked a law enforcement officer with a knife.

Related Topics

More on this story