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Texas man pleads guilty to trying to aid foreign terrorists

Michael Wolfe, 23, is seen in an undated photo released by the Austin Police Department in Austin, Texas. Wolfe and Rahatul Ashikim Kahn, 23, have been arrested on charges of trying "to provide material support to terrorists," with one of the pair seeking to aid extremist groups fighting in Syria, U.S. prosecutors said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Williamson County Jail/Handout via Reuters

AUSTIN Texas (Reuters) - A Texas man pleaded guilty on Friday of attempting to provide support and resources to a Middle Eastern foreign terrorist organization as part of a federal undercover operation, U.S. prosecutors said.

Michael Wolfe, 23, admitted that “he planned to travel to the Middle East to provide his services to a foreign terrorist organization, namely, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham/Syria (ISIS) and to engage in violent jihad in Syria,” federal prosecutors said in a statement.

He faces up to 15 years in prison for his attempted involvement with the group, also known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL. No date has been set for a sentencing hearing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas said.

Wolfe purchased a plane ticket to travel to Europe where he was to meet an FBI undercover employee, who Wolfe thought would help him travel to Turkey and then Syria, where he would join ISIL and join the armed conflict.

A lawyer for Wolfe was not immediately available for comment.

In documents filed on Friday at the U.S. federal court in Austin, Wolfe said he knowingly tried to provide support to ISIS.

Wolfe and another Texas man, Rahatul Ashikim Kahn, 23, were arrested this month and faced separate federal charges of attempting to aid terrorists.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bill Trott and Susan Heavey