Man allegedly motivated by Hamas attack charged with attempting to join Somalia-based terrorist organization

The Department of Justice seal is seen on a lectern ahead of a press conference announcing efforts against computer hacking and extortion at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC on November 28, 2018. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty ImagesCNN — 

A New Jersey man allegedly motivated by the October 7 Hamas attack in Israel has been charged after expressing a desire to harm Americans around the world and planning to join a foreign terrorist group, according to a complaint unsealed Friday by authorities.

Karrem Nasr, 23, is being charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based and designated foreign terrorist organization, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York said in a news release.

If Nasr is found guilty, he could face up to 20 years in prison, federal officials say.

In November while in Egypt, he “repeatedly expressed his desire and plans” to join al-Shabaab and “wage jihad, including in communications with an FBI confidential source,” who was posing as a facilitator for terrorist organizations, the complaint said.

Nasr, a US citizen, stated through messages with the confidential source and posts online he had been “thinking about engaging in jihad for a long time,” and was particularly motivated to become a jihadist by Hamas’ surprise attack on October 7 that killed at least 1,200 Israelis, the complaint alleged.

He communicated with the confidential source the number one enemy was “evil America,” which he called the “head of the snake,” and in recent public social media posts, Nasr warned “Jihad” was “coming soon to a US location near you,” as well as posting airplane, bomb, and fire emoji, the complaint said.

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York said in a statement Nasr was “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-Shabaab 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,’” Williams added.

Nasr moved from New Jersey to Egypt around July 2023, according to the complaint. He flew from Egypt to Kenya on December 14, where he planned to travel to Somalia, but he was arrested by Kenyan authorities and brought back to the United States on December 28, according to the release.

It’s unclear if Nasr has an attorney but he is expected to appear in Manhattan federal court Friday.

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