Minnesota ISIS recruit Hanad Musse pleads guilty

One of seven young men from the Twin Cities accused of attempting to join ISIS in Syria entered a guilty plea Wednesday morning in federal court in Minneapolis. Hanad Musse, 19, told the judge he initially saw ISIS as freedom fighters and wanted "to protect the people of Syria and Iraq and form an Islamic State."

Musse pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and misusing federal student loans to buy a plane ticket. Musse said he used student loan money to try to fly to Greece, lying that he was going on vacation. He made a second attempt to leave the United States for Syria, planning to go through Mexico.

“The facts set forth in Mr. Musse’s guilty plea underscore the length and breadth of this criminal conspiracy,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger. “This defendant made multiple attempts to leave Minnesota to join ISIL -- criminal prosecution was the best remaining option to stop him and potentially save his life. Twin Cities’ youth continue to be the targets of an intense recruiting campaign by ISIL. Fighting back is the shared responsibility of a wide cross-section of Minnesotans -- parents, religious leaders, teachers, community leaders and law enforcement. We must continue to work together to end the cycle of recruiting.”

Musse is one of 4 men accused of taking a bus from Minneapolis to New York last November to board flights overseas, with ultimate plans to join Islamic State fighters in Syria. In court Wednesday, he admitted others planned on doing the same.