May 11, 2016 / 6:10 PM / 2 years ago

Uzbek citizen arrested for New York-based Islamic State plot

NEW YORK (Reuters) - An Uzbek citizen has become the sixth individual to be charged for participating in a New York-based conspiracy to provide support to the militant group Islamic State, U.S. prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Azizjon Rakhmatov, 28, was arrested earlier in the day and charged in an indictment filed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to Islamic State and conspiring to use a firearm.

U.S. authorities have charged at least 85 people since 2014 with crimes related to Islamic State, which controls territory in Syria and Iraq and has claimed responsibility for attacks in Paris in November that killed 130 people.

In court papers, prosecutors said Rakhmatov belonged to a domestic support network for individuals seeking to join Islamic State, donating his money and working to raise funds to help others to travel to Syria to join and fight for the group.

The investigation began when Abdurasul Juraboev, an Uzbek national living in Brooklyn, came to law enforcement’s attention after making a post on an Uzbek-language website that supported Islamic State, prosecutors said.

The probe revealed that Juraboev and a Kazakh national living in New York, Akhror Saidakhmetov, planned to travel to Turkey and then to Syria to join Islamic State, prosecutors said.

Rakhmatov and co-defendants Abror Habibov, Dilkhayot Kasimov and Akmal Zakirov helped fund the efforts of Saidakhmetov, who was arrested in February 2015 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, attempting to fly to Istanbul, prosecutors said.

A lawyer for Rakhmatov could not be immediately identified.

Juraboev pleaded guilty in August to conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State. Charges against Saidakhmetov, Habibov, Kasimov and Zakirov remain pending.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by James Dalgleish

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