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FBI agents arrested a Lackawanna man they say was trying to recruit local people for ISIS and who was about to leave the country.
Arafat Nagi, 44, was preparing to leave Lackawanna, and agents believed he was headed to the Middle East to fight with ISIS, prompting agents to take him into custody, according to a source.
U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. at a news conference Wednesday said Nagi has on two separate occasions traveled from Lackawanna to Turkey to try to join the terrorist organization, which also is known as ISIL. [ISIS]
Nagi had bought body armor, boots, Islamic headband, a face mask, night vision goggles and burn kit, federal authorities said.
He was known to local as he was involved in a domestic incident in 2013, according to law enforcement sources, who said he threatened to behead his daughter with a knife.
Law enforcement officials also said Wednesday that Nagi was a friend and associate of several members of the Lackawanna Six.
Nagi was arraigned Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott, who ordered him held without bail, pending a felony hearing Friday morning.
Beginning in August 2012 and up to the present, Nagi is accused of attempting to “provide material and resources” to a designated terrorist organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also called ISIS.
Scott told Nagi he faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, if convicted.
Nagi, who was born in Buffalo, said he has not worked since 2009, when he was injured. He told the judge he previously worked delivering medication to pharmacies for Prestige Delivery Systems, but was fired. He also described himself as disabled, though he never has filed for disability benefits. Nagi said he relies on family members to pay his bills.
Nagi said he is divorced and the father of a son, 23, and daughter, 21.
Assistant US Attorney Joseph Trippi said he moved for continued detention of Nagi because he is “a risk of flight and danger to the community.”
Scott assigned attorney Jeremy Schwartz to defend Nagi.
“It’s very early in the case to make any comments about the evidence or charges,” Schwartz told reporters outside the courtroom.
Federal officials said Nagi had been on their radar “for about a year.”
“The FBI had been watching him for some time and arrested him because he was planning to take action today, preparing to leave and go fight,” a source familiar with the investigation said.
Nagi, formerly of Detroit, had been interviewed by agents and, when questioned, was vague about a 10-day period that remains unaccounted for, a source said.
Agents believe that Nagi attempted to recruit local people for the terrorist organization, according to a source with knowledge of the arrest.
When the man tried to recruit people in Lackawanna, his efforts were spurned, according to another source familiar with the arrest.
This isn’t the first time terrorism has touched Lackawanna. One year and one day after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, eight Lackawanna men were accused of visiting an al Qaida training camp in Afghanistan.
Wow. Bad reporting or intentionally bad reporting? Were they found guilty? What happened to them?
Another article clarifies: Nagi was friend of some Lackawanna Six members, police sources say
The men all went to prison after taking guilty pleas in Buffalo’s federal court and admitting that they had trained with al-Queda and met Osama bin Laden, the man behind the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America.
Nagi was a “friend and supporter” of the Lackawanna Six, one of the sources told the Buffalo News today.
So the Lackawanna Six all went to prison. That is, until the U. S. gave half of the Lackawanna Six new identities. Witness protecton. No one knows where they are today.
Update from Daniel Greenfield:
The last time Lackawanna made headlines it was because of the Lackawanna Six, a sleeper cell of six Yemeni Muslims aiding Al Qaeda. Arafat Nagi also appears to be Yemeni.
There are a whole bunch of Yemeni Muslims living in Lackawanna, New York, because this country’s government has an obsessive death wish.
More than 1,100 people of Yemeni descent live in Lackawanna. Their culture and their faith set them apart from others in the city – and co-existence has had its rough edges.
This is a piece of ethnic America where the Arabic-speaking Al-Jazeera television station is beamed in from Qatar through satellite dishes to Yemenite-American homes; where young children answer “Salaam” when the cell phone rings, while older children travel to the Middle East to meet their future husband or wife; where soccer moms don’t seem to exist, and where girls don’t get to play soccer – or, as some would say, football.
That was 13 years ago. Assume there are a lot more than that now in a population of less than 20,000.
A popular stretch of Ridge Road now has Yemini and American flags waving. Some residents in the community don’t welcome it, but the Mayor of Lackawanna said he’s not backing down.
“Some people don’t like the fact that they’re flying side by side with our flag. Then my response was well you didn’t call anybody or complain when the Polish flags were flying side by side with the American flags,” said Mayor Geoff Szymanski, (D).
Szymansky said the Yeminite community is the fastest growing community in Lackawanna.
Except that the red in the Yemeni flag stands for the “blood of martyrs” and Yemen is currently divided between ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran’s Shiite Houthi terrorists. That’s a little different than the Poles.
Also the Poles don’t seem to be joining ISIS as much.
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