New Jersey man motivated by Oct. 7 Hamas attack sought to join terror group: prosecutors

ByAaron Katersky WABC logo
Friday, December 29, 2023
NJ man motivated by Hamas attack supported foreign terror group
Prosecutors say the 23-year-old planned to go Somalia to join the terror group.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A New Jersey man motivated by the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel "devoted himself to waging violent jihad against America and its allies" and sought to join a foreign terror group, federal prosecutors in New York said Friday.

Karrem Nasr, 23, was arrested in Kenya earlier this month and brought to New York to face charges of attempting to provide material support to al-Shabaab, the Somalia-based terror group affiliated with al-Qaeda.

Nasr is expected to make an appearance later Friday before a federal magistrate in Manhattan federal court.

"As alleged, Karrem Nasr, motivated by the heinous terrorist attack perpetrated by Hamas on October 7, devoted himself to waging violent jihad against America and its allies. Nasr, a citizen of this country, traveled from Egypt to Kenya bent on joining and training with al Shabab so that he could execute his jihadist mission of death and destruction. Nasr was prepared to kill and be killed to support the jihadist cause, and in his own words, he described America as 'evil' and the 'head of the snake,'" U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.

According to the criminal complaint, Nasr moved to New Jersey from Egypt in July and repeatedly expressed a desire to join al-Shabab during communications with someone he thought was an al-Shabab facilitator but who was really a confidential FBI source.

The complaint quotes messages with the confidential source and postings online in which Nasr said he had been thinking about engaging in jihad for a long time and was particularly motivated by the October 7 Hamas attack in Israel.

In recent public social media posts, Nasr warned "Jihad" was "coming soon to a U.S. location near you," posting airplane, bomb, and fire emojis.

Nasr flew from Egypt to Kenya on December 14. Prosecutors said he planned to transit into Somalia before Kenyan authorities took him into custody.

Nasr, of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, is charged with attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

(ABC News contributed to this report.)

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