FEDS: Muslim immigrant wanted to start a ‘sleeper cell’ for Islamic State in U.S.

Rachel Weiner | The Washington Post -- 

As soon as he came to the United States, according to court documents, Mahmoud Elhassan was looking for supporters of Islamist terrorism groups.

“One of our forgotten prisoners,” the 25-year-old wrote on Facebook of a man convicted in a bombing plot. “I wished to work with him one day, but the 1st day I came to the states I found that the disbelievers imprisoned him.”

In 2014, Elhassan messaged a radical Sudanese cleric, saying, “here with you is a sleeper cell.” He asked to be connected to like-minded young men, saying, “I am feeling that I am alone and I don’t have anyone but the brothers on the internet.”

But the supposed ally the cleric found for Elhassan was actually an FBI informant. When he tried to help another man, Joseph Farrokh, travel to Syria, both were arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to terrorism-related charges. Elhassan will be sentenced Friday in federal court in Alexandria.

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