A woman from Indiana who traveled with her husband to live in the Islamic State capital of Raqqa, Syria has been charged for material support for terrorism last week by the Justice Department.
Samantha Marie Elhassani, 32, left her home and job at a packing company in Elkhart, Indiana to become an ISIS bride and charged in federal court on August 22 with conspiring to provide material support to ISIS.
On top of that, Elhassani has been charged with aiding and abetting individuals in providing material to support to ISIS.
Elhassani told CNN in an interview with CNN that in 2014, her husband, Moussa Elhassani had promised her a new cheaper life, and the plan was to move to Morocco together–but instead, they ended up in ISIS territory in Syria. She said her fears were if she didn’t follow her husband that her children would possibly be taken away forever. After being captured in Syria, Elhassani told PBS Frontline in March that she had been tricked by her husband to move the family into ISIS territory.
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“You have to understand I was afraid for our lives,” said Elhassani.
The Justice Department announced the material terror support charges against Elhassani:
The indictment alleges that from the fall of 2014 through summer of 2015, Elhassani provided material support and resources to ISIS knowing that the organization was a designated terrorist organization, and knowing that the organization has engaged in and was engaging in terrorist activity and terrorism. Elhassani, is also charged with aiding and abetting two individuals in providing themselves as personnel to ISIS.
Under both charges she is alleged to have procured tactical gear and provided funds to support individual A and B in providing themselves as personnel for ISIS. In July of 2018, Elhassani was transferred from the custody of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to U.S. law enforcement and charged with making false statements to the FBI in the Northern District of Indiana.
According to Fox59.com, Elhassani’s husband died fighting for ISIS in 2017 and she had been held in a Kurdish detention camp along with her four children after ISIS’s collapse in Raqqa. She was ultimately transferred to U.S. custody and flown back to America.
In the indictment, Elhassani is accused of procuring tactical gear and funds for their use in fighting for ISIS, according to a grand jury indictment from the fall of 2014 and summer of 2015. ISIS has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization.
Elhassani’s 10-year-old son Matthew was even featured in a propaganda video for ISIS during the families time overseas. Reading from a prepared script, the young boy claims in the video that his father is a former American soldier who fought “against the mujaheddin” in Iraq.
Matthew also threatens President Trump in the video and warns of terror attacks directed at the allies: “My message to Trump, the puppet of the Jews, Allah promises victory and promised you defeat. This battle is not going to end in Raqqa or Mosul. It’s going to end in your lands. By the will of Allah we will have victory. So get ready for the fighting has just begun.”
The video closes out with Matthew loading AK-47 magazines and looking down the scope of a sniper rifle.
In a second interview in April, Elhassani again stated that her husband tricked her and her four children into joining ISIS while on a family vacation.
“I thought we could just walk across the border and we could come back again,” said Elhassani.
Elhassani was also charged in July with giving a false statement to the FBI. Grant Mendenhall, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Division, said in a written statement, “The charges against Ms. Elhassani illustrate that actions of providing support to ISIS have serious consequences, and should serve as a reminder to American citizens that providing assistance to terrorist organizations or individuals aligned with terrorist entities will not be tolerated.”
If Elhassani is convicted, the federal judge would be set to determine her punishment.
Elhassani’s four children have been placed in the care of the Indiana Department of Child Services.