AURORA, Ill. — Two Illinois Islamists, one of which serves in the Illinois National Guard, have been charged with conspiring to aid the barbaric terror group ISIS as one plotted to travel overseas for jihad training while the other planned to carry out an attack on a U.S. military base.
Hasan Edmonds, 22, and his cousin Jonas, 29, were both taken into custody on Wednesday after being tracked by the FBI for the past year on suspicion of terrorist ambitions.
Hasan Edmonds has served as a specialist with the Illinois National Guard since 2011, and allegedly planned to travel to the Mideast to be trained for fight for Allah. Jonas Edmonds, in the meantime, was to carry out an attack on the Joliet Armory with AK-47’s and grenades.
According to reports, an undercover FBI agent that had been tracking the Edmonds cousins communicated with the men via Facebook, posing as an ISIS sympathizer. The criminal complaint states that in one of the messages, Hasan Edmonds explained that he wished to travel to Syria to join ISIS, but that if he was unable to do so, he would remain in the U.S. and “fight and die here in the name of Allah.”
“In Allah we will complete our task or be granted shahada (martyrdom). I look forward to the training,” he allegedly stated. “I am already in the American kafir army and now I wish only to serve in the army of Allah alongside my true brothers.”
Edmonds also expressed his belief that ISIS could overcome America by wearing down its resolve.
“With the U.S., no matter how many you kill they will keep coming unless the soldiers and the American public no longer have the will to fight,” he stated. “If we can break their spirits, we will win.”
Last month, Edmonds informed the agent that his cousin Jonas was willing to attack the Joliet Armory in Illinois.
“Honestly, we would love to do something like the brother in Paris did,” he outlined, referring to the bloody Charlie Hebdo attack in January that left a dozen dead.
On Wednesday, Hasan Edmonds was arrested as he was about to board a plane to Cairo, Egypt. His cousin Jonas was arrested two hours later. Both appeared in court on Thursday, where they formally faced charges of providing material support to terrorist groups. If convicted, both could face up to 15 years behind bars.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner released a statement on Thursday expressing relief that the men had been caught.
“Last night, I was informed that the Illinois National Guard soldier was arrested for alleged terrorist activities including attempting to join and assist ISIS and conspiring to facilitate other terrorist actions,” he said. “I commend the Illinois National Guard and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for working together closely to apprehend this individual and his associates.”
“On behalf of all citizens of Illinois, I thank all the members of our National Guard as well as the FBI for protecting our state and defending our country,” Rauner stated.
According to reports, over 30 Americans have been arrested in the past year and a half on charges of conspiring to assist ISIS.