Aurora teen on his way to join jihadist militant group in Syria - New York News

Aurora teen on his way to join jihadist militant group arrested at O'Hare

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

18 year old Abdella Ahmad Tounisi of Aurora was planning to board a flight destined for Instanbul Turkey when he was arrested by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force at Chicago O'Hare International Airport Friday night.

Special Agent Joan Hyde tells Fox 32's Tisha Lewis the teen was planning to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization.

"Working with someone he didn't know at the time was an undercover employee of the FBI, he was provided with a bus ticket that would take him from Istanbul to a city that is near the border of Turkey and Syria," said Hyde.

Tounisi first appeared on the FBI's radar last year after his friendship with a man accused of attempting to detonate a bomb outside a Chicago bar came to light.

Since then, in a federal complaint, federal agents say the Aurora teen conducted online research related to violent jihad.

"The charges were a result of some online communications that he had with an undercover employee… Mr. Tounisi thought that the individual was a recruiter for the al-Nusrah terrorist organization," said Hyde.

Michael J. Fagel has studied terrorism for years and teaches at Northwestern University. He says in spite of the capture of the Boston bombing suspect and this arrest in Chicago, the war on terrorism is never over.

"The thing that concerns me the most is that there should not be a victory lap of capturing the terrorist which is great, we don't know when the next attack will be or who the next person, who has become radicalized or would like to cause us harm," said Fagel.

Federal agents say Tounisi expressed a willingness to die for the cause.

"What is it that makes that person flip that switch to go from interested to activation and we don't know what that is, it's a hidden switch and we don't know why and how but we know many people hate our way of life and what we do and what we stand for," said Fagel.

If convicted of the charge filed against Tounisi, he faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.

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