Six people living in the U.S. have been charged with providing material support to ISIS, the Justice Department said Friday night.
Reuters reports that the six men and women are Bosnian natives who were living in New York, Missouri, and Illinois, and that the federal grand jury indictment includes charges of providing money as well as equipment to foreign fighters joining ISIS, al-Qaeda, and al-Nusra Front.
Five of the suspects have been arrested in the United States, but the sixth is overseas. The charges filed against them include conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists.
Three of the individuals are naturalized citizens of the United States while the other three suspects have refugee or legal resident status within the U.S, the Justice Department said in a press release.
According to Fox News, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said Friday that the arrests are proof the ISIS, also known as ISIL, is a “growing threat.”
“ISIL presents a growing threat not only in Syria and Iraq, but throughout the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and now the United States as well. Terrorists and their enablers will continue to receive the unwavering attention of law enforcement and the intelligence community.”
Authorities say the conspiracy dates back to May, 2013, and that the six suspects sent multiple payments to ISIS fighters and others using PayPal. They also sent surplus U.S. military uniforms, tactical clothing and gear, combat boots, military surplus goods, first aid supplies, and firearms accessories, including rifle scopes, to Turkey.
The money and supplies eventually went to fighters in Iraq, Syria, and other locations. Money was also distributed to family members of men who joined ISIS. According to the indictment, the defendants knew where the supplies and money were going and that people in Saudi Arabia and Turkey acted as intermediaries, receiving the money and goods from the suspects in the United States, and then transferring them to militants fighting with ISIS and other terrorist organizations.
Members of the group communicated with ISIS fighters in a variety of ways, using telephones along with Facebook and other social media outlets to send and receive messages using code words and fictitious names including “Bosnian brothers,” “Lions,” and “mujahids.”
The defendants being charged with supporting ISIS include Ramiz Zijad Hodzic, 40; his wife, Sedina Unkic Hodzic, 35; and Armin Harcevic, 37, all operating out of St. Louis County, Missouri; Mediha Medy Salkicevic, 34, of Schiller Park, Illinois; Jasminka Ramic, 42, or Rockford, Illinois; and Nihad Rosic, 26, of Utica, New York.
While all six are charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to ISIS fighters and other terrorists, the Justice Department says Rosic and Ramiz Zijad Hodzic are also accused of conspiring to kill and maim persons in a foreign country.
Anti-ISIS efforts are getting more attention as awareness of pervasive movements hidden in small communites grows. The Inquisitr reports that ISIS fail videos are going viral and even American hip-hop star Akon is getting in on the act, playing an anti-ISIS show in Iraq next month.
[ISIS fighters image via USA Today]