Teen Would-Be Islamic State Recruit Praised Chattanooga Shooting, FBI Says

Islamic State demonstrators
Islamic State demonstrators / AP
August 11, 2015

A 19-year-old Mississippi resident recently charged by the FBI with attempting to join the Islamic State praised the attack on two Chattanooga military facilities last month that killed five U.S. servicemen.

ABC News reported that Jaelyn Delshaun Young of Starkville, Mississippi, celebrated the Chattanooga shootings in an online conversation with an undercover FBI agent.

"What makes me feel bette[r] after just watching the news is that an akhi [brother] carried out an attack against US marines in TN! Alhamdulillah [Thanks be to God], the numbers of supporters are growing," Young told the agent in an online forum the day after the attack.

Young, along with Mississippi resident 22-year-old Muhammad Oda Dakhlalla, has been formally charged with attempting to support a terrorist organization. The two plotted for months to travel to Turkey and from there enter Syria and join the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIL or ISIS).

"The only thing keeping me away is $$$ but working all of this overtime will be worth [it] when I am finally there," Young allegedly said online. According to the FBI, the teenager wanted to provide "medical aid" to individuals once in Syria.

Dakhlalla allegedly told an undercover FBI agent, "I wish to be a mujahid akhi [holy warrior]. I am willing to fight. I want to be taught what it really means to have that heart in battle!"

An affidavit filed by an FBI agent indicates that the couple claimed to have an Islamic marriage in order to travel as a pair to Syria.

Authorities waited to apprehend the couple until they had arrived at a Mississippi airport with their passports and plane tickets, where ultimately they confessed to their designs to join the terrorist organization. A federal magistrate judge has ordered the couple be held without bail as they await trial.

According to the Vicksburg (Miss.) Post, Young was an honor roll student in high school who went on to attend Mississippi State.

Republican lawmakers have insisted that the attack on the Chattanooga military facilities was an act of terrorism, though President Obama has refrained from defining it as such.

The alleged gunman, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, died in the shooting on July 16. He was born in Kuwait before becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. According to investigators, Abdulazeez traveled to Jordan multiple times, one of the trips occurring as recently as last year.

While officials said Abdulazeez was not listed on any U.S. terror watch list, his father, Youssuf Abdulazeez, was investigated twice in an FBI terror funding investigation, but was cleared of wrongdoing.

Published under: Military , Terrorism