December 17, 2015 / 6:23 PM / in 2 years

NY man pleads guilty to trying to support Islamic State

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York man pleaded guilty on Thursday to attempting to recruit fighters to join Islamic State in Syria.

Mufid A. Elfgeeh, 31, of Rochester, New York entered a guilty plea to two terrorism-related counts before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Wolford in federal court in Rochester.

His case is among more than 70 brought by the U.S. Department of Justice against defendants accused of seeking to support the militant group.

Prosecutors accused Elfgeeh of using a network of social media accounts, including 23 separate Facebook accounts, to help convince two individuals to travel to Syria in order to train as soldiers for Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL and controls territory in Iraq and Syria.

The individuals were secretly working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to court documents.

Elfgeeh arranged for a known jihadist in Yemen to help coordinate logistics for the individuals’ planned travel to Syria and gave them advice on how to avoid detection, prosecutors said.

In addition, Elfgeeh sent $600 to an individual in Yemen to help him travel to Syria in order to join Islamic State and later facilitated communication between a military commander for fighters in Syria and leaders of Islamic State, according to court documents.

Elfgeeh’s court-appointed defence attorney declined to comment.

“One of the first ISIL recruiters ever captured in this country stands convicted of terrorism-related charges,” said William Hochul, the U.S. Attorney in Rochester, in a statement.

Elfgeeh’s plea agreement with the government calls for a prison term of 22-1/2 years. His sentencing is scheduled for March 17.

Additional reporting by Eric Walsh in Washington

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