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American man, 21, convicted of trying to join ISIS to be released

Abdullah Yusuf, 21, who was sentenced for trying to join ISIS, was granted supervised release.

(Sherburne County)

A man convicted for attempting to join ISIS was granted supervised release from a Minnesota halfway house Thursday — less than three years ago, he tried to board a jet to speak with the Islamic terror group in Syria.

Abdullah Yusuf, 21, has taken place in the federal halfway house since November 2016.

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Yusuf was one of nine men who were arrested in a sweeping FBI probe of ISIS recruitment in Minnesota in 2014 and 2015. He is one of the few Americans to be allowed back into society after trying to join the terrorist group, the Star Tribune reported.

“We are very happy to meet again our son,” Yusuf’s father, Sadiik Yusuf told reporters after the Thursday hearing. “We will be ready to help him.”

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Yusuf, who, together with the federal authorities during the investigation, was sentenced last year to time served, after a stay of nearly two years in detention. He stayed in the halfway house until Thursday’s release.

As part of his sentence, Yusuf remains heavily under federal supervision for 20 years. In addition, he is excluded from the use of social media or access to materials relating to extremism.

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His Internet use will be monitored and his movements are tracked by GPS for at least a year, the officials said.

Eric Hermes, Yusuf ‘ s probation officer, praised his client during the hearing, that he had become a role model for other residents.

“He continues to set goals for themselves, as he is going forward,” Hermes told the court.

Yusuf, soon after turning 18, was arrested on May 28, 2014 when he tried to board a plane from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to Istanbul, Turkey. The FBI was tipped off by passport officials, and six months later, he was charged with a conspiracy to commit material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

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His friend, Abdi Nur, was able to avoid the FBI’s detection and on board of an aircraft of the country the day after Yusuf’s arrest. Nur is believed to have died after joining ISIS.

Abdirizak Warsame, the only other Minnesotan to cooperate with the authorities in the investigation, is scheduled to be released from an Illinois federal prison in March 2018. Four others, who pleaded guilty, received 10 years in prison last year, while three others, who fought the federal charges, lost at the trial and could remain behind bars for 35 years.

The Star Tribune reported in Yusuf’s parents left the courtroom on Thursday, they embraced the same FBI agents, who arrested their son. They said that they believe that the agents saved Yusuf’s life by arresting him before he left the country.

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