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Minnesota man charged with supplying material support to ISIS

Abdelhamis Al-Madioum, 23, of St. Louis Park was detained overseas and recently transferred to FBI custody.
Credit: AP Images
(AP Photo/ Images/Jose Luis Magana)

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota man has been charged with supplying material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

According to U.S. Attorney Erica H MacDonald's Office, Abdelhamis Al-Madioum, 23, of St. Louis Park has been charged by indictment with allegedly providing material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

Al-Madioum was detained overseas by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and recently transferred into FBI custody before returning to Minnesota for his initial court appearance in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, according to the press release.

According to the allegations in the indictment and a law enforcement affidavit, Al-Madioum knowingly provided material support and services to ISIS from July 8, 2015 through March 15, 2019.

On June 23, 2015, Al-Madioum and his family traveled from St. Louis Park to Casablanca, Morocco to visit extended family, according to court documents. Al-Madioum then left Morocco for Istanbul, Turkey on July 8, 2015, without his family's knowledge. From Turkey, Al-Madioum went to Iraq and Syria, where he joined ISIS.

According to court documents, family members told investigators that Al-Madioum claimed he was not feeling well and skipped dinner. When the family woke up the next morning, Al-Madioum was gone. The family said he left behind all of his belongings except his U.S. passport and cell phone.

The family immediately reported his disappearance to Moroccan authorities and, according to court documents, on August 4, 2015 provided written consent for the FBI to search their home in St. Louis Park for any evidence related to Al-Madioum's disappearance.

FBI agents found handwritten notes regarding Al-Madioum's planned travel, including the when maximum withdrawal limit was for his his debit card, how to unfreeze his account and how to prove his identity over phone.

The FBI learned from Al-Madioum's family that they had received two phone calls on Aug. 25, 2015 from Al-Madioum, saying he was in Mosul, Iraq. He told family members he was working at a hospital treating "injured" people.

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In March of 2017, the family confirmed with the FBI that Al-Madioum had been in contact with them while he was overseason, telling the family that he had moved from Mosul to Raqqa, Syria and married a "widow" with whom he had a child, the court documents say. In August of 2017, the family received photos of Al-Madioum holding a newborn child.

According to the allegations in the indictment and a law enforcement affidavit, members of the Department of Defense later recovered two documents related to Al-Madioum's ISIS membership -- the first document found in June of 2017 near Mosul, Iraq and the second was found in the Hasakah province of Syria, which listed ISIS personnel with a corresponding census number. One of the census numbers on the ISIS document is known to be associated with Al-Madioum.

Throughout 2018 and into 2019, the SDF conduected successful military operations against ISIS, reducing the organization's territory to the area of a small village on the Syria-Iraq border named Baghous. According to court documents, in March of 2019, during military operations near Baghous, the SDF periodically provided safe passage for those ISIS members who wished to surrender. Part of the process was to undergo bio-metric enrollment and identification by SDF and others. Al-Madioum was among the ISIS members enrolled by the SDF.

According to court documents, Al-Madioum was later moved from Baghous to Hasakah Prison in Syria. On July 20, 2019, FBI agents encountered Al-Madioum, who volunteered information to the agents. He told agents he lied about his name and nationality when he was first enrolled by the SDF so that he and his children would not be returned to the United States.

Al-Madioum told agents he joined ISIS in 2015 and was injured in an airstrike in Mosul where he injured both of his legs and lost his right arm above the elbow. At the time Al-Madioum was enrolled by the SDF, he was with two minor children, both of whom he claimed were his offspring. He said that his wife has been killed in Baghouz, Syria, according to the court documents.

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In August of 2019, FBI agents interview Al-Madioum and he admitted that he reached out to ISIS members and representatives on Twitter because he wanted to fight Muslim oppression by the Syrian regime and to attend medical school. He said he received advice regarding ISIS from a Twitter account called "Birds of Paradise," which was an active Twitter account that posted ISIS propaganda. Al-Madioum said the Twitter account put him in contact with an ISIS facilitator, who gave him information on how to travel to Syria to join the organization.

According to court documents, Al-Madioum told agents that after arriving in Mosul, he took four classes in first aid and was assigned to work in an ISIS hospital. He went on to say that after two months in Mosul, he was injured in an airstrike and that he could not work, but continued to receive a stipend from ISIS. Al-Madioum said he stayed in Mosul for 18 months until ISIS began to lose territory. He said he retreated from Mosul and eventually surrendered to SDF forces.