A New Jersey man arrested in Kenya last month was charged with attempting to provide material support for the Islamist militant group Al-Shabab in Somalia, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Friday.
Prosecutors said Karrem Nasr, 23, was “motivated” by the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel and “devoted himself to waging violent jihad against America and its allies.”
“Nasr was prepared to kill and be killed to support the jihadist cause, and in his own words, he described America as ‘evil’ and the ‘head of the snake,’” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said in a statement. “Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the career prosecutors in my Office and our law enforcement partners who led the investigation, Nasr’s plan to train with a terrorist organization and wage violent jihad has been disrupted.”
Williams said Nasr moved to Egypt in July and then traveled to Kenya in an attempt to join with and train Al-Shabab militants. He was arrested in Nairobi, Kenya, earlier this month and extradited to the U.S. Thursday.
The DOJ said a confidential source who reported threatening posts on X, formerly Twitter, made law enforcement aware of Nasr. In posts the department shared, Nasr pledges a “jihad on home turf,” and said he aspired to be a martyr for the Al-Shabab cause.
“You may have F35s and nuclear weapons, and we may only have IEDs and small arms,” he wrote in one post. “But we fight for god, your fight for your oppressive, materialistic geopolitical agenda.”
Prosecutors said Nasr made concrete travel plans, including flights and lodging, from Egypt to Kenya to meet with Al-Shabab militants and travel with them to Somalia. He was arrested upon arrival in Kenya, they said.
The charge of support for a terrorist organization carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.
“Instead of embracing all that the United States had to offer him, Mr. Nasr allegedly moved abroad and committed himself to supporting a foreign terrorist organization,” New York Police Commissioner Edward Caban said in a statement. “The provision of support to such a group – particularly by an American citizen – is a heinous threat to our entire country and way of life.”
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