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US citizen attempting to join al Shabaab arrested in Nairobi

A 23-year-old United States national was arrested in Kenya after allegedly seeking to join al Shabaab terror group in Somalia, authorities said Friday.

The New Jersey man identified as Karrem Nasr was allegedly inspired by Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel and was planning to join the Somalia-based terror group affiliated with al-Qaida.

Nasr who also went under the name Ghareeb Al-Muhaji, was taken into custody in Nairobi on December 14 before being taken to the United States on Thursday, federal prosecutors said.

He was extradited to New York to face charges of attempting to provide material support to a -Shabaab, expressing a desire to harm Americans around the world and planning to join a foreign terrorist group, according to authorities.

Nasr, “motivated by the heinous terrorist attack perpetrated by Hamas” on October 7, “devoted himself to waging violent jihad against America and its allies,” according to a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office out of the Southern District of New York.

The suspect “was prepared to kill and be killed” and “specifically aspired to be a martyr for the jihadi cause,” according to a criminal complaint.

Nasr is said to have specifically wanted to join al Shabaab and travelled from Egypt to Kenya on December 14 “for purposes of ultimately joining and training with” the militant group, the FBI agent wrote.

He had planned to travel to Somalia to join the terror group before he was picked up by Kenyan authorities on December 14, officials said.

Nasr moved from New Jersey to Egypt around July 2023, according to the complaint.

The suspect’s mother had been pressuring him to come back to America and Nasr said his parents had no idea about his hopes to join jihadists, the FBI said.

If Nasr is found guilty, he could face up to 20 years in prison, federal officials say.

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