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Meet The U.S. Citizens Charged With Trying To Join Or Help ISIS

This is an ongoing list of Americans who have been arrested on suspicion of trying to provide material support to international terrorist groups. Updates will be added as new arrests occur.

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Updated on

More and more American citizens are traveling abroad to join and fight with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Over the past two years, dozens of Americans have been arrested and charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIS, many of whom the FBI discovered through their social media accounts declaring allegiance to the terrorist group.

The following are some of the Americans we know have been arrested in the U.S. for attempting to travel abroad to support and fight for ISIS:

Pugh, who served in the U.S. Air Force, was indicted March 16 by a grand jury in Brooklyn on charges of attempting to provide material support to a terror organization.

Pugh was fired from his job working as an airplane mechanic in Kuwait in December 2014. A few weeks later, in January, he allegedly tried to fly from Egypt to Turkey in an effort to get across the border into Syria to join ISIS.

After authorities in Turkey denied Pugh access into the country, he was sent back on a return flight to Egypt. Egypt deported him to the U.S. on Jan. 15 after he was found carrying suspicious items, including a photograph of a machine gun.

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Read his criminal complaint here:

In early April, Philadelphia woman Keonna Thomas was charged with trying to go overseas to join ISIS and become a martyr.

Thomas bought plane tickets to Turkey, from which she allegedly planned to cross into Syria.

Starting in 2013, Thomas, who is a mother, regularly tweeted in support of ISIS.

In one tweet, she wrote: "If we truly knew the realities ... we all would be rushing to join our brothers in the front lines pray ALLAH accept us as shuhada [martyrs]."

Authorities say she also corresponded by email with members of ISIS abroad.

The U.S. Attorney's Office detailed one of her exchanges in a criminal complaint:

"That would be amazing... A girl can only wish," Thomas wrote to an ISIS fighter in Syria after he emailed her asking if she'd partake in a suicide mission.

"I can make that wish come true," the unnamed fighter replied.

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Hasan and Jonas are cousins from the United States who were arrested for conspiring to join ISIS and attack a military base in Illinois.

Hasan Edmonds, a 22-year-old Army National Guard specialist, was secretly conspiring to use his military training to support ISIS. He was arrested at the Chicago Midway International Airport in late March on his way to Cairo.

His 29-year-old cousin, Jonas, was arrested the same day in Aurora, Illinois, on suspicion of conspiring to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization.

The cousins were allegedly planning for Jonas stay in the U.S. and carry out a terrorist attack at a military base in Illinois, while Hasan traveled overseas to join ISIS.

Read their criminal complaint:

The FBI first learned of Cornell after he posted about carrying out violent jihad on his social media accounts.

According to a criminal complaint, Cornell detailed his support for violent jihad on Twitter, and discussed his plan to kill U.S. government officials. FBI agents arrested the Cincinnati man in January after Cornell unknowingly met with an undercover FBI agent and discussed his support for ISIS.

After Cornell was arrested he called a local TV station to say he would have killed the president, the Associated Press reported.

"I would have pulled the trigger, then I would unleash more bullets on the Senate and House of Representatives members, and I would have attacked the Israeli embassy and various other buildings."

On support for the Islamic State in the United States, he added:

"We're here in Ohio. We're in every state. We're more organized than you think."

Here is Cornell's criminal complaint:

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Wolfe, 23, was arrested in February 2014 at a Houston airport before boarding a flight to Europe, and was charged in June "with attempting to provide material support to terrorists."

He allegedly "planned to travel to the Middle East to provide his services to radical groups engaged in armed conflict in Syria," according to a federal criminal complaint.

He was arrested alongside Rahatul Khan, 23, who was charged with trying to join an Al-Qaeda linked terror group in Somalia, and joining online chat groups to discuss jihad.

On Oct. 4, Khan was arrested at Chicago O'Hare International Airport before boarding a flight to Istanbul, prosectors said.

He was traveling with his 17-year-old sister and 16-year-old brother, who were both questioned by the FBI but not charged.

Khan allegedly admitted to FBI agents that he had talked to a member of ISIS called "Abu Qaqa" through social media, and planned to travel to Turkey to meet the man who promised to act as a guide into Syria.

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Mohamud, 23, was arrested in February after returning from a trip to Syria, where he allegedly trained with terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda called Jabhat al-Nusrah.

He was charged with one count of providing material support to a terrorist organization and one count of lying to the FBI in an indictment returned in the Southern District of Ohio.

Mohamud pleaded not guilty on April 17 and is being held without bail in Columbus, Ohio.

Read his criminal complaint here.

Ahmed, 19, was arrested in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Feb. 2 on suspicion of conspiring to provide support to ISIS, and for allegedly making a false statement to the FBI.

The FBI said that in November, Ahmed and three other young men traveled by bus to New York in an attempt to catch flights to Syria via Istanbul. Authorities reportedly removed Ahmed from the plane before it departed.

Prior to trying to travel overseas, Ahmed had tweeted about wanting to become a martyr for ISIS and fight in Syria.

He is currently in federal custody.

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John T. Booker, a 20-year-old resident of Topeka, Kansas, was arrested in early April after he allegedly tried to plan a suicide attack inside the Fort Riley military base.

According to authorities, Booker was found trying to arm what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb inside a van parked at the Kansas military base when he was arrested.

Booker had appeared on the radar of federal authorities months earlier after meeting with an undercover FBI agent multiple times to discuss his desire to participate in jihad on behalf of ISIS.

He also allegedly voiced his beliefs on social media, writing publicly on his Facebook: "I will soon be leaving you forever so goodbye! I'm going to wage jihad and hopes that i die."

On April 21, Booker pleaded not guilty in a Kansas City courtroom to federal charges of trying to bomb an Army installation in support of a terrorist group. If he is convicted, he could face life in prison.

Read Booker's criminal complaint here:

In early April, Joshua Van Haften was arrested at Chicago O'Hare International Airport on suspicion of trying to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

Haften had been talking with friends about his plans to join ISIS for months, according to the Department of Justice.

In August 2014, authorities say he flew to Istanbul with plans of crossing the border into Syria but was unsuccessful.

In a criminal complaint, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Carlin wrote that Van Haften traveled overseas "for the alleged purpose of joining and attempting to provide material support to ISIL."

"Stemming the flow of foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria and holding accountable those who attempt to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations remains a top priority for the National Security Division," Carlin added.

Shannon Maureen Conley, a 19-year-old Colorado woman, is serving a four-year prison sentence after she admitted she wanted to marry an ISIS fighter and become a nurse for the terrorist group.

Conley was first arrested at the Denver International Airport in July 2014 on her way to Turkey, where she was allegedly planning to meet a member of ISIS she had met online and pledged to marry.

Conley, a certified nurse's aide in Colorado at the time of her arrest, had reportedly told her parents about the marriage plans and asked for their blessing. But her father refused, and later called the FBI to say that he had found his daughter's plane ticket for a one-way trip to Turkey, CNN reported.

At her trial in January, Conley said that "it was after arrest that I learned the truth about the ISIS that I was taught to respect."

"Since my incarceration, I have had a chance to read the entire Quran," she said, adding that the people she had been following online had "distorted" the text.

"Even though I was committed to the idea of jihad, I didn't want to hurt anyone. It was all about defending Muslims."

Elfgeeh, a 30-year-old U.S. citizen originally from Yemen, was arrested in May 2014.

Federal prosecutors charged Elfgeeh with trying to recruit people to help fight with ISIS overseas, as well as plan terrorist attacks in the United States.

The Rochester, New York, resident allegedly tried to persuade at least one undercover FBI agent to go to Syria "and fight on behalf of ISIS," and tried to buy two handguns with silencers from an agency informant, the FBI alleged.

Read the affidavit in his case here:

14. Bilal Abood

A 37-year-old resident of Mesquite, Texas, Abood was accused of making a false statement to the FBI and pledging allegiance to ISIS, according to several news reports.

Abood was born in Iraq and in 2009 came to the United States, where he became a naturalized citizen, according NBC Fort-Worth affiliate.

He was arrested May 14.

In March 2013, he allegedly tried to board a flight to Iraq, but after he was prevented from doing so, admitted that he had planned to go to Syria and join the Free Syrian Army, authorities said.

The Associated Press reported Abood is also accused of pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and, according to a criminal complaint, had viewed videos on his computer of ISIS beheadings.

When he was interviewed by the FBI, he denied having made the pledge.

15. Three unnamed teenage girls.

Three teenage girls — two of them 15, the other 17 — left a Denver suburb with plans to travel to Syria to join ISIS, but were stopped and detained in Frankfurt, Germany, and sent back to their parents.

The teens are all U.S citizens. Two are sisters of Somali descent, and the other girl is Sudanese. The FBI hasn't said how the teens planned or executed their trip abroad, but alleged that their grand plan was to join ISIS, CNN reported.

16. Donald Ray Morgan, a 44-year-old North Carolina man, pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to ISIS and illegally obtaining a firearm as a convicted felon in October 2014.

According to the FBI, Morgan attempted to provide support and resources to members of ISIS from January to August 2014, going as far as attempting unsuccessfully to travel from Lebanon to Syria to fight with the terrorist group.

Morgan came to the attention of the FBI after posting about his support for ISIS on his social media accounts.

17. Adam Dandach, also known as Fadi Fadi Dandach, was arrested in July 2014 after allegedly trying to travel to Syria to join ISIS.

According to court documents, the 21-year-old from Orange, California, lied in his passport application and was stopped at John Wayne Airport while on his way to Turkey.

Federal investigators allege Dandach planned to travel to Syria, and told FBI agents he believed the killing of American soldiers was justified.

His attorney, Pal Lengyel-Leahu, has reportedly argued Dandach was "naive" and looking to travel to Syria to help widows and orphans, not fight alongside the terrorist group.

Nader Elhuzayel and Muhanad Badawi, both of Anaheim, California, were arrested in May on suspicion of planning to travel abroad and fight alongside ISIS, according to a federal indictment.

The two men allegedly caught the attention of investigators on social media, where they expressed their desire to fight with the terrorist organization.

Elhuzayel was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport, where he allegedly planned to board a plane with a one-way ticket to Turkey.

19. Munther Omar Saleh

A 20-year-old college student from Queens, Saleh is accused of scouting targets to carry out a terrorist attack in the U.S. on behalf of ISIS, according to a federal complaint unsealed June 16.

He was arrested June 7 after he and a 17-year-old were stopped by authorities in an undercover vehicle, the New York Post reported.

Authorities allege Saleh, who was enrolled in a Queens aeronautical college, was trying to learn how to build a bomb, and had been stopped in March when a cop saw him walking near the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey.

Authorities also say they found several documents on his computer showing he sympathized with ISIS.

Many other Americans who are not U.S. citizens have been arrested for trying to join ISIS, including six Minnesota men who were conspiring to travel abroad to participate in jihad, according to the FBI.

Contact Ali Vingiano at alison.vingiano@buzzfeed.com.

Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Salvador Hernandez at salvador.hernandez@buzzfeed.com.

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