Islamic State fighters trained Dearborn man captured in Syria, feds say
Detroit — Islamic State fighters provided military-style training to a machine-gun toting Dearborn man captured on a Syrian battlefield last summer, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Prosecutors leveled the allegations in a new indictment against Ibraheem Musaibli, 28, who was brought back to Metro Detroit last year and charged with conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization. His case presents one of the first times the Trump administration is using federal courts to prosecute a returning foreign fighter.
Federal prosecutors accused Musaibli of fighting on behalf of ISIS against coalition forces, including members of the U.S. military.
Musaibli was taken into custody by Syrian Democratic Forces in July while trying to flee the Middle Euphrates River Valley in northern Syria. At the time, he was believed to be one of only two male Americans captured alive on an Islamic State battlefield.
The indictment accuses Musaibli of knowingly providing support to ISIS since April 2015 and undergoing training at an ISIS military training camp. He also conspired to possess and fire a machine gun in support of ISIS, prosecutors said.
ISIS is a designated foreign terrorist organization.
“The United States is committed to holding accountable its citizens who leave this country in order to support ISIS,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said in a statement Wednesday.
If convicted, Musaibli could be sentenced to life in federal prison.
He used several aliases, including Abu Shifa Musaibli and Abu ‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-Yemeni, according to the government.
The portrayal is at odds with a description provided by his family. Musaibli is no terrorist but was lured by fellow Muslims into coming to Syria to study religion and work, younger brother Abdullah Musaibli said last year.
Ibraheem Musaibli was tricked by fellow Muslims into traveling overseas and became trapped in war-torn Syria, his brother said.
"My brother is the best person in the world, however he is very trusting in other Muslims like him," Abdullah Musaibli, 26, of New York City wrote to The News last year. "That is why he is in this situation, because other 'Muslims' tricked him into coming to Syria to study religion and work. He had NO idea this group was ISIS."