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Grand jury indicts accused Flushing terrorist

By Sadef Ali Kully

A federal grand jury returned an indictment Tuesday charging a young Flushing man and his friend with attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to the terrorist group ISIS and the assault of FBI agents, according to the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District.

U.S. citizens Munther Omar Saleh, 21, from Bowne Street in Flushing, and his friend, Fareed Mumuni, 21, from Staten Island were arrested days apart but were charged together in the grand jury indictment, which accused them of planning to plot terror attacks for ISIL in New York and attempted murder of federal officers, court documents showed.

Saleh was arrested June 13, along with two other unnamed co-conspirators, after federal investigators followed the three men in a car near a parking lot close to the Whitestone Bridge. When investigators approached them, Saleh allegedly try to attack federal agents with a knife in his hand, according to the criminal complaint.

Mumuni was arrested June 17 after he allegedly tried to stab a federal agent during an execution of search warrant at his Staten Island home, the indictment said. Prosecutors said law enforcement observed Mumuni holding several meeting with Saleh in May and recorded wiretaps of phone conversations described as “motivating” by prosecutors, according to the court documents.

The federal investigation into Saleh, who was studying electrical circuitry at Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in East Elmhurst, revealed he had been allegedly planning to attack various city landmarks on behalf of the Islamic State, the indictment said. He allegedly translated Islamic State propaganda into English and expressed support on Twitter for the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris and the shooting outside a Mohammad cartoon contest in Texas., according to the criminal complaint.

As alleged in the indictment and in other court filings, the defendants espoused radical jihadist beliefs and fervent support for ISIL. Saleh allegedly also made efforts to prepare a “pressure cooker” bomb for detonation in the city on behalf of ISIL,the court papers said.

The arraignment for Saleh and Mumuni was scheduled for Aug. 20 in Brooklyn federal court. If convicted, Mumuni faces a maximum sentence of 85 years’ imprisonment and Saleh faces a maximum sentence of 65 years’ imprisonment.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

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