U.S. News

New York man pleads guilty to attempted support of Islamic State

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York City man admitted on Thursday that he had sought to provide support to Islamic State and tried to kill an FBI agent with a knife when authorities came to his home to execute a search warrant in 2015.

Fareed Mumuni, 22, pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn to five counts, including charges that he conspired to provide material support to Islamic State and attempted to murder a federal officer.

He was one of six young men in New York and New Jersey charged in a probe into what Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Solomon called a “group of like-minded individuals who had pledged allegiance to ISIL,” using another name for Islamic State.

Those men included Munther Omar Saleh, a college student whom prosecutors say obtained instructions to build a pressure cooker bomb and planned to carry out an attack in New York City. Saleh is scheduled to plead guilty on Friday.

Since March 2014, 114 people have faced U.S. charges related to the Islamic State militant group, according to the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.

In court, Mumuni admitted he had discussed traveling overseas to join Islamic State, which has seized control of parts of Iraq and Syria, and gave someone a ride so he could buy shoes and supplies to do the same.

Prosecutors said Mumuni also, as part of an alternative plot, met with Saleh, 21, to help him carry out a potential domestic attack with a bomb.

On June 13, 2015, law enforcement arrested Saleh and a high school senior, Imran Rabbani, after they got out of their vehicle and ran toward a surveillance vehicle that was following them, prosecutors said.

Mumuni was arrested two days later after trying to stab an FBI agent wearing body armor with a knife after authorities arrived at his Staten Island residence to execute a search warrant, he admitted in court on Thursday.

“By lunging with a knife, I knew that if I succeeded I could kill him,” Mumuni said.

Mumuni faces up to 85 years in prison when he is sentenced on May 16. Rabbani was sentenced to 20 months in prison in August after pleading guilty to a non-terrorism charge.

Three other men in New Jersey who prosecutors say were in contact with Saleh and sought to travel overseas to join Islamic State have pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Sandra Maler