Kenya extradites US citizen planning to join Al Shabaab

A US citizen allegedly inspired by Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel was arrested in the Kenyan capital Nairobi mid-this month on his way to join the Al Shabaab terror network in Somalia.

Karrem Nasr, 23, from Lawrenceville, New Jersey, was arrested on December 14 after flying from Egypt to Nairobi, where federal prosecutors say he was planning to meet with al-Shabaab members before travelling to train in Somalia, where the terror group is based.

He was extradited to New York on December 28 to face charges for attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organisation.

The October 7 attack on Israel has been described as one of the third worst terror attacks in history, ranked close to the 9/11 attack that recorded the largest mass fatalities in the history of terror attacks.

According to a statement by the US Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York, the suspect had been contemplating engaging in jihad for a long time and was particularly motivated to become a jihadi by the October 7, 2023, Hamas terrorist attack in Israel.

For example, in communications with a covert FBI operative, Nasr stated that the number one enemy was “evil America,” which he called the “head of the snake”.

Additionally, in his recent public social media posts, he warned that “Jihad” was “coming soon to a US location near you”, posting airplane, bomb, and fire emojis: And in further communications with the operative, Nasr expressed his intent to join Al Shabaab to receive military training and engage in jihad, that he was prepared to kill and be killed, and that he specifically aspired to be a martyr for the jihadist cause.

“NASR is a 23-year-old US citizen who moved from New Jersey to Egypt in or about July 2023. NASR is a supporter of Al Shabaab, a designated foreign terrorist organisation that has attacked Americans and American allies. Since at least in or about November 2023, NASR has repeatedly expressed his desire and plans to join al Shabaab and wage jihad, including in communications with an FBI confidential source who was posing as a facilitator for terrorist organizations,” the statement added.

His charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

“Karrem Nasr travelled across the globe in an alleged attempt to join the ranks of a foreign terrorist group– an organisation that has repeatedly expressed its desire to harm Americans around the world,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith.

New York Police Department’s Commissioner Edward A. Caban faulted Nasr for failing to embrace all that the United States had to offer him instead choosing to move abroad and committing himself to supporting a terrorist organisation.

 “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. In the face of this, NYPD investigators and our law enforcement partners on the FBI-led New York Joint Terrorism Task Force will remain relentless in our efforts to identify and investigate anyone who so clearly considers our nation their sworn enemy,” he said.

Nasr told the operative that he planned to delete data from his cellphone and computer to ensure that if he were detained, law enforcement would not be able to recover evidence of his jihadist activities from those devices.

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