A man who survived the Minneapolis bridge collapse in 2007 has been charged with joining ISIS – and he used his $91,000 settlement to help fund the terror network, the FBI has reported.
When the Mississippi River bridge in Minneapolis collapsed in 2007, 13 people were killed and 145 were injured. Mohamed Amiin Ali Roble, now 20, was just 10 years old when the school bus he and his siblings were riding in fell with the bridge as it collapsed. On his 18th birthday, he collected a $91,654 settlement.
Now federal authorities have revealed that he used that money to finance a trip to join the Islamic State. Reportedly, he first flew to China in October 2014. In December of 2014, he traveled to Istanbul, then on to Syria. The FBI said he was supposed to return to the U.S. in June, but never did.
Court documents allege that Roble withdrew over $47,000 from his bank accounts while he was in Turkey, and believe he used that money to help support ISIS, including buying cars and helping pay for weddings for fellow jihadists in Syria.
The FBI believes Roble is still alive in Syria. He is now the 11th Muslim man from the Twin Cities area accused of conspiring to join ISIS. Of the other 10, nine have been convicted and one is also believed to have gone to Syria – who just happens to be Roble’s uncle, Abdi Nur.
The Star Tribune reports that according to testimony in a May trial of three of the men charged, it is believed that Nur was killed while fighting for ISIS, but that has not been publicly confirmed.
Roble’s name first came up during that trial of the three co-defendants, where it was revealed that he had attended meetings with the other co-conspirators as they talked about joining ISIS in Syria, and that the others knew he was waiting on the settlement money, as his parents had filed three lawsuits after the bridge collapse, against the state of Minnesota, the contractor and the engineering firm that worked on the bridge.
The Star Tribune reports that Roble received his settlement in August 2014, opened two bank accounts, and obtained a passport, saying he wanted to study in China. He flew to China with his mother in October 2014. In November, he flew to Istanbul and back in the same day, then he flew to Istanbul again on December 27, 2014 and never returned.
All financed with his lawsuit settlement money.
More from the Star Tribune:
According to Higgins’ affidavit, an ATM card associated with Roble’s checking account was used roughly 45 times after he traveled to Istanbul. Between December 2014 and March 2015, those withdrawals totaled more than $47,000 and all came from near Gaziantep, Turkey — about 35 miles from a border crossing into Syria popular with “jihadist-oriented travelers,” Higgins said.
Roble’s debit card was also used to buy clothing, sporting goods and electronics in Gaziantep before he traveled to Kilis, about 40 miles away from the ISIL stronghold Aleppo.
According to trial testimony, Roble kept in touch with friends back home and his deep pockets became the source of banter among co-conspirators. In conversations secretly recorded by Bashiir, Omar described Roble as passing out money like “candy” in Syria. Omar said Roble purchased cars for fellow ISIL fighters and paid for several weddings.
Abdirizak Warsame, who pleaded guilty in the case in February, told investigators earlier this year that he had seen photographs of Roble “in a desert setting,” according to Higgins. In some photos, Warsame said, Roble is seen carrying an assault rifle and in others a black ISIL flag. He also said he saw a photograph with Roble and Nur together in Syria.
Higgins wrote that agents found in May 2015 that both Nur and Roble used the same Internet Protocol address to access their respective Facebook and iTunes accounts. They again did so in August 2015, one of the most recent dates in which Nur has been mentioned as alive.
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