Six people have been charged with providing money and equipment including U.S. military uniforms to foreign fighters joining al Qaeda, Nusra Front and Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday.
The six are Bosnian natives living in Missouri, Illinois and New York. Five of them were arrested in the United States and charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists. The sixth person is overseas, the department said in a statement.
Members of the group conspired to provide money and equipment - including U.S. military uniforms, combat boots, tactical gear, military surplus goods and firearms accessories - to be used to commit crimes outside the United States, according to a federal grand jury indictment made public by the Justice Department.
It said people in Turkey and Saudi Arabia acted as intermediaries who received the money and property from the defendants in the United States and transferred them to militants fighting with groups in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.
The group transferred thousands of dollars over the past two years to purchase equipment for a man identified as Abdullah Ramo Pazara and other foreign fighters traveling to join battles in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, the indictment said.
In one message last year, two of the accused parties discussed buying a night-vision optic with a built-in camera for recording killings while fighting in the Middle East, according to the indictment.
The indictment said members of the group used telephones and Facebook and other social media to send and receive messages, using fictitious names and code words including "Lions," "Bosnian brothers" and "mujahids."
It identified the defendants as Ramiz Zijad Hodzic, 40; his wife, Sedina Unkic Hodzic, 35; and Armin Harcevic, 37, all of St. Louis County, Missouri; Nihad Rosic, 26, of Utica, New York; Mediha Medy Salkicevic, 34 of Schiller Park, Illinois; and Jasminka Ramic, 42, of Rockford, Illinois.
All were charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists, and with providing material support to terrorists. Ramiz Zijad Hodzic and Rosic also were accused of conspiring to kill and maim persons in a foreign country, the department said.
"Today's charges and arrests underscore our resolve to identify, thwart, and hold accountable individuals within the United States who seek to provide material support to terrorists and terrorist organizations operating in Syria and Iraq," said Assistant Attorney General John Carlin.
(Reporting by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago and Doina Chiacu in Washington; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Mohammad Zargham)