Florida man indicted, accused of trying to join terror group

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A former Florida resident accused of traveling to Turkey and attempting to join the Islamic State group was indicted Tuesday on a terrorism charge.

A federal grand jury in Gainesville formally charged Mohamed Fathy Suliman, 33, a U.S. citizen, with attempting to provide material support for a designated foreign terrorist organization, according to court records. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

“Protecting national security is a top priority of this office,” Lawrence Keefe, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Florida, said in a statement. “We are absolutely committed to deterring, disrupting and dismantling the plans of anyone who seeks to support a designated foreign terrorist organization."

According to the criminal complaint, Suliman booked a one-way flight in June 2014 from Orlando to Alexandria, Egypt, with stops in Chicago and Istanbul. Rather than traveling on to Egypt, Suliman paid cash for a one-way airline ticket to the Turkish/Syrian border, officials said. Suliman was arrested by Turkish authorities and accused of illegally crossing into Syria. He was eventually returned to the United States.

A search of Suliman's emails revealed attachments that contained various audio files that consisted of messages calling for jihad, officials said.

Suliman's attorney didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment about the case.