2 men arrested in California in terrorism probe

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Two 'Homegrown Violent Extremists' Arrested in Southern California


SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) -- Two California men arrested by the FBI wanted to join the Islamic State group and bought a plane ticket for one of them to travel to Turkey with the hope of becoming a martyr, U.S. prosecutors said Friday.

The U.S. attorney's office charged 24-year-olds Nader Elhuzayel and Muhanad Badawi with conspiring to provide material support to a terrorism group. The men are expected to make a court appearance Friday afternoon in Santa Ana.

Elhuzayel was taken into custody at Los Angeles International Airport, and Badawi was arrested late Thursday in Anaheim, where both men live, authorities said.

The two men discussed their support for the Islamic State on social media and in conversation, saying it would be a blessing to join the fight and die on the battlefield, prosecutors said in a complaint.

A one-way Tel Aviv, Israel-bound plane ticket with a six-hour layover in Istanbul, Turkey, was purchased for Elhuzayel using Badawi's debit card. Badawi told another man about Elhuzayel's plan, saying "I'm going to join soon. I don't know how soon, but I will go," the complaint said.

After his arrest, Elhuzayel told authorities he was planning on getting off the plane in Turkey and traveling to fight with the Islamic State, the complaint said.

Salem Elhuzayel, Elhuzayel's father, told the Orange County Register that he had dropped off his son for an Israel-bound flight so he could visit Palestinian aunts and cousins.

"I think they're looking for a victim," he said. "He's an innocent human being."

Salem Elhuzayel said FBI and SWAT officials searched the family's Anaheim motel room after they returned from the airport.

Badawi's sister declined to comment on the allegations.


Other attempted ISIS recruits:

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People accused of trying to join ISIS/recruited by ISIS
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2 men arrested in California in terrorism probe
ANKARA, TURKEY - MARCH 17: A passport photo alleged to belong to 22-years-old British woman Jalila Henry and to have been used by her twin sister Jamila Henry (known and named by Turkish officials as Jaila Nadra H) as she tried to travel through Turkey to Syria to join Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) terrorists. Jaila Nadra H was detained after an operation staged by the Turkey's Ankara Province Police Anti-terrorism department in the city's bus terminal in Ankara, Turkey on March 17, 2015. (Photo by Turkish National Police/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Renu Begum, eldest sister of Shamima Begum, 15, holds her sister's photo as she is interviewed by the media at New Scotland Yard, as the relatives of three missing schoolgirls believed to have fled to Syria to join Islamic State have pleaded for them to return home, on February 22, 2015 in London, England. Police are urgently trying to trace Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and 15-year-old Amira Abase after they flew to Istanbul in Turkey from Gatwick Airport on Tuesday. (Photo by Laura Lean - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
ANKARA, TURKEY - MARCH 17: A 22-years-old British woman, Jamila Henry (known and named by Turkish officials as Jaila Nadra H) who is alleged to have tried to travel through Turkey to Syria to join Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) terrorists, who has been detained after an operation staged by the Turkey's Ankara Province Police Anti-terrorism department in the city's bus terminal in Ankara, Turkey on March 17, 2015. (Photo by Turkish National Police/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Handout still taken from CCTV issued by the Metropolitan Police of (left to right) 15-year-old Amira Abase, Kadiza Sultana,16 and Shamima Begum,15 at Gatwick airport, before they caught their flight to Turkey. Metropolitan Police officers are in Turkey as the search continues for three missing schoolgirls believed to have fled to Syria to join Islamic State.
Fighters from the Iraqi Imam Ali Brigade, take part in a training exercise in Iraq's central city of Najaf on March 7, 2015, ahead of joining the military operation in the city of Tikrit. Some 30,000 Iraqi security forces members and allied fighters launched an operation to retake Tikrit at the beginning of March, the largest of its kind since Islamic State (IS) group forces overran swathes of territory last June. AFP PHOTO / HAIDAR HAMDANI (Photo credit should read HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images)
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