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Minnesota man sentenced to 15 years for trying to aid Islamic State

A Somali-American man in Minnesota was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Tuesday for conspiring to support the Islamic State militant group, according to local media.

A Somali-American man in Minnesota was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Tuesday for conspiring to support the Islamic State militant group, according to local media.

Senior U.S. District Judge Michael Davis sentenced Hamza Ahmed, 21, at a Minnesota courthouse, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper.

In November 2014, Ahmed was pulled off a plane traveling from New York to Turkey, which people who have fought for Islamic State have used as a gateway to Syria.

The militant group holds territory in Iraq and Syria and has sympathizers and recruits around the world who have carried out shootings and bombings of civilians.

Ahmed was indicted in February 2015 on charges of conspiring to support Islamic State and lying to federal agents investigating recruitment by militant groups, according to prosecutors.

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He pleaded guilty in April, according to the Star Tribune.

"I want you to understand I am not completely changed," the newspaper quoted Ahmed as saying in court on Tuesday. "I'm in the process, but nobody changes overnight. I'm trying every day."

Ahmed is part of a larger group of nine Somali-American men who are being sentenced in Minnesota this week for conspiring to support the Islamic State.

On Monday, three men were handed sentences ranging from time served to 10 years in prison.

The Minneapolis area is home to a large population of Somali expatriates. U.S. authorities have said dozens of young Somali-Americans have left the area since 2007 to join al Shabaab, an al Qaeda affiliate based in Somalia.

In 2014, FBI officials said they had begun tracking a trickle of Somali-Americans from the Minneapolis area to Syria in general and to Islamic State-held areas in particular.

Related Topics: CRIME
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