Two men charged with conspiracy to support ISIS in Boston terror probe

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Two Men Charged With Conspiracy to Support ISIS


Prosecutors charged two U.S. men on Friday of plotting to help the Islamic State militant group by beheading Americans, after an investigation that led law enforcement officers to shoot a suspect dead last week in Boston.

The case follows a handful of so-called "lone wolf" attacks in the United States and Canada since last year by people whom authorities said were inspired by Islamist State, which controls parts of Syria and Iraq and has vowed attacks on the West.

The men, Nicholas Rovinski, 24, of Rhode Island, and David Wright, 25, of Massachusetts, are accused of making plans with Wright's uncle, Usaamah Abdullah Rahim, to kill the organizer of a Mohammed cartoon exhibit in Texas in May, and later to target Massachusetts police, a U.S. Department of Justice statement said.

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Two men charged with conspiracy to support ISIS in Boston terror probe
In this courtroom sketch, David Wright, second from left, is depicted standing with his attorney Jessica Hedges, right, as Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelley presides, left, during a hearing Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in federal court in Boston. Wright was ordered held Wednesday on a charge of conspiracy with intent to obstruct a federal investigation in the case of Usaama Rahim, who while under surveillance by terrorism investigators, was killed after he lunged with a knife at a Boston police officer and an FBI agent. (Jane Flavell Collins via AP)
In this courtroom sketch, Nicholas Rovinski, second from right, of Warwick, R.I., is depicted standing with his attorney William Fick, right, as Magistrate Judge Donald Cabell, left, presides during a hearing Friday, June 12, 2015, in federal court in Boston. Rovinski is accused of conspiring with Usaama Rahim of Boston, who was killed the previous week by terror investigators who had him under 24-hour surveillance. (Jane Flavell Collins via AP)
First Assistant Suffolk County District Attorney Patrick Haggan points to surveillance video released during a press conference Monday, June 8, 2015, in Boston, which they say shows the fatal shooting of a Boston man suspected of plotting to kill police officers. The video comes from a restaurant across the street, and the figures shown are blurry. Police and the FBI say it shows officers shooting 26-year-old Usaama Rahim on June 2 in the city's Roslindale neighborhood after they attempted to question him about "terrorist-related information." (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Commissioner of the Boston Police Department William Evans speaks as First Assistant Suffolk County District Attorney Patrick Haggan, far left, and Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley listen after releasing a surveillance video during a press conference Monday, June 8, 2015, in Boston, which they say shows the fatal shooting of a Boston man suspected of plotting to kill police officers. The video comes from a restaurant across the street, and the figures shown are blurry. Police and the FBI say it shows officers shooting 26-year-old Usaama Rahim on June 2 in the city's Roslindale neighborhood after they attempted to question him about "terrorist-related information." (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Imam Abdullah Faaruuq speaks during a news conference Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Boston's Roslindale neighborhood in the area where Usaama Rahim, 26, was shot to death. Faaruuq, a Muslim leader close to the Rahim family, said that his killing by Boston police and the FBI was reckless and unnecessary. Police said Usaama Rahim had lunged at members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force with a knife when they approached him. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Family members and supporters escort Rahimah Rahim, center, the mother of shooting victim Usaama Rahim, after a news conference on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Boston's Roslindale neighborhood in the area where her son was shot to death. Police said Usaama Rahim had lunged at members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force with a knife when they approached to question him. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Attorney Ron Sullivan speaks on behalf of family and friends of shooting victim Usaama Rahim during a news conference Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Boston's Roslindale neighborhood in the area where Rahim was shot to death. Police said Usaama Rahim had lunged at members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force with a knife when they approached to question him. Listening are Rahim's mother, Rahimah Rahim, to the right of Sullivan, and his brother, Ibrahim Rahim. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
U.S. Marshals patrol the waterfront side of the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse during the arraignment of David Wright Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Boston. Wright was ordered held Wednesday on a charge of conspiracy with intent to obstruct a federal investigation in the case of Usaama Rahim, who while under surveillance by terrorism investigators, was killed after he lunged with a knife at a Boston police officer and an FBI agent. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Supporters of David Wright leave the Federal Courthouse building after Wright's arraignment Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Boston. Wright was ordered held Wednesday on a charge of conspiracy with intent to obstruct a federal investigation in the case of Usaama Rahim, who while under surveillance by terrorism investigators, was killed after he lunged with a knife at a Boston police officer and an FBI agent. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Abdullah Faaruuq, Imam of the Mosque for the Praising of Allah, left, speaks to reporters during a news conference as Darnell Williams, president of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, behind center, Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, front right, and Rev. Arthur Gerald, Jr., president of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, right, look on during a news conference, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, at Boston Police Headquarters, in Boston. Boston police said they have video showing Usaama Rahim, a man who was under 24-hour surveillance by terrorism investigators, lunging with a knife at a police officer and an FBI agent before he was shot and killed. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Community members and police officials at Boston Police Department Headquarters prepare to see video, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Boston, of a fatal police shooting on Tuesday, in the city's Roslindale neighborhood. Police said the video shows that officers did not have their weapons drawn when they approached Usaama Rahim and that they backed up when he initially lunged at them with a knife. (David Ryan/The Boston Globe via AP, Pool)
Community members and police officials at Boston Police Department Headquarters prepare to see a video, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Boston, of a fatal police shooting on Tuesday, in the city's Roslindale neighborhood. Police said the video shows that officers did not have their weapons drawn when they approached Usaama Rahim and that they backed up when he initially lunged at them with a knife. (David Ryan/The Boston Globe via AP, Pool)
Community members and police officials pray at the Boston Police Department headquarters before seeing a video, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Boston, of a fatal police shooting on Tuesday, in the city's Roslindale neighborhood. Police said the video shows that officers did not have their weapons drawn when they approached Usaama Rahim and that they backed up when he initially lunged at them with a knife. (David Ryan/The Boston Globe via AP, Pool)
Abdullah Faaruuq, Imam of the Mosque for the Praising of Allah, at microphones, raises his hand as he speaks to reporters during a news conference as Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, second from top right, looks on, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, at Boston Police Headquarters, in Boston. Boston police said they have video showing Usaama Rahim, a man who was under 24-hour surveillance by terrorism investigators, lunging with a knife at a police officer and an FBI agent before he was shot and killed. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Abdullah Faaruuq, Imam of the Mosque for the Praising of Allah, left, speaks to reporters during a news conference as Darnell Williams, president of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, behind center, Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, front right, and Rev. Arthur Gerald, Jr., president of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, right, look on during a news conference, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, at Boston Police Headquarters, in Boston. Boston police said they have video showing Usaama Rahim, a man who was under 24-hour surveillance by terrorism investigators, lunging with a knife at a police officer and an FBI agent before he was shot and killed. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
BOSTON - JUNE 3: Community members arrive at Boston Police Headquarters preparing to see video of Boston Police shooting in Roslindale. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
The apartment building where David Wright was taken into custody the previous day, is seen, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Everett, Mass. Wright will face federal charges Wednesday in Boston in connection to the investigation of Usaama Rahim, who had been under 24-hour surveillance by terrorism investigators, and who was killed after he lunged with a knife at a Boston police officer and an FBI agent. (AP Photo/Phil Marcelo)
FBI Special Agent in Charge of Boston Vincent B. Lisi, right to left, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans listen to a reporter's question during a joint news conference at the Boston Police Department's Headquarters Tuesday, June 2, 2015, in Boston. A man under surveillance by a joint terrorism task force was shot and killed outside a pharmacy Tuesday after he lunged with a knife at a city police officer when asked to drop his military style knife before the officer and an FBI agent opened fire. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Police vehicles sit in front of a multi-storied home Tuesday, June 2, 2015, in Everett, Mass., being searched by authorities in connection with a man shot and killed earlier in the day in Boston. The man, under surveillance by terrorism investigators, was killed after he lunged with a knife at a Boston police officer and an FBI agent, Boston police Commissioner William Evans said. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
The knife brandished by a man under surveillance by a joint terrorism task force who was shot and killed outside a pharmacy Tuesday is displayed during a news conference at the Boston Police Department Headquarters Tuesday, June 2, 2015, in Boston. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Police work inside a gated community Tuesday, June 2, 2015, in the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston, where a residence was being searched by authorities in connection with a man shot and killed earlier in the day. The man, under surveillance by terrorism investigators, was killed after he lunged with a knife at a Boston police officer and an FBI agent, Boston police Commissioner William Evans said. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Boston Police Officer Shoots and Kills Terror Suspect. MORE: http://t.co/x8TSYQSQbb http://t.co/rl6TZ04q4Q
Terror suspect shot dead in Boston http://t.co/mrwsQxldPp http://t.co/JKxVcrqldk
Sources: Man killed in Boston was tracked over possible radicalization by ISIS propaganda: http://t.co/bganpVQhbH http://t.co/ss0gHlWI0X
A police officer stands near a multi-storied home Tuesday, June 2, 2015, in Everett, Mass., being searched by authorities in connection with a man shot and killed earlier in the day in Boston. The man, under surveillance by terrorism investigators, was killed after he lunged with a knife at a Boston police officer and an FBI agent, Boston police Commissioner William Evans said. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
A sign posts the speed limit in a gated community Tuesday, June 2, 2015, in the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston, where a residence was being searched by authorities in connection with a man shot and killed earlier in the day. The man, under surveillance by terrorism investigators, was killed after he lunged with a knife at a Boston police officer and an FBI agent, Boston police Commissioner William Evans said. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley speaks as FBI Special Agent in Charge of Boston Vincent B. Lisi, left to right, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans, far right, look on during a joint news conference at the Boston Police Department's Headquarters Tuesday, June 2, 2015, in Boston. A man under surveillance by a joint terrorism task force was shot and killed outside a pharmacy Tuesday after he lunged with a knife at a city police officer when asked to drop his military style knife before the officer and an FBI agent opened fire. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Names are listed on a mailbox at the apartment building in Everett, Mass., Wednesday, June 3, 2015, where David Wright was taken into custody Tuesday. Wright will face federal charges Wednesday in Boston in connection to the investigation of Usaama Rahim, who had been under 24-hour surveillance by terrorism investigators, and who was killed after he lunged with a knife at a Boston police officer and an FBI agent. (AP Photo/Phil Marcelo)
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Prosecutors say that "beginning at a date unknown but no later than May 2015, Wright, Rovinski and Rahim conspired to commit attacks and kill persons inside the United States, which they believed would support ISIL's objectives," using an alternative acronym for the group.

Police shot 26-year-old Rahim dead last Tuesday when FBI agents and a Boston police officer approached him in a parking lot to question him. Authorities said Rahim threatened the law enforcement officers with a knife. Wire taps of his phone calls had revealed Rahim was planning to behead police officers, law enforcement authorities said.

Prosecutors said the three men initially wanted to behead New York resident Pamela Geller, who had organized an event in Texas highlighting cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, images that many Muslims consider blasphemous. Two gunmen had attacked that event, and were shot dead by police.

Prosecutors said Rahim later called Wright to say he had revised his plan and instead intended to attack "those boys in blue", by which he meant Massachusetts police officers.

"Wright urged him to first wipe his laptop computer and to destroy his phone so that they could not be searched by law enforcement, and urged him to make a will," according to the Justice Department statement.

Rovinsky and Wright are charged with conspiracy to provide material support to Islamic State, an offence that carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

Rovinski, who is also known as Amriki aka Nuh al Andalusi, was arrested at his home on Thursday night, and will appear in court on Friday. Wright, also known as Dawud Sharif Abdul Khaliq, has been in custody since last week on a charge of obstruction of justice. He is scheduled to appear in court on June 19.

(Reporting by Richard Valdmanis, Editing by Franklin Paul and Andrew Hay)

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