Tuesday, July 29 2014 9:17 PM EDT2014-07-30 01:17:27 GMT
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Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:53 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:53:08 GMT
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Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:30 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:30:08 GMT
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Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:20 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:20:41 GMT
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AUSTIN, TX (CNN/KEYE/ISIS) - Two American men are in custody Thursday morning, charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.
Rahatul Khan is accused of attempting to join an Al Qaeda-linked terror group in Somalia, and Michael Todd Wolfe allegedly tried to join radical groups in Syria.
A SWAT team surrounded 23-year-old Khan's home in Austin.
According to a criminal complaint, Khan used internet chat rooms "to spot and assess potential recruits for committing violent jihad overseas."
Wolfe, also 23, was arrested at Houston's George H.W. Bush Airport before boarding a flight to Europe where he allegedly planned to enter into Syria through Turkey, providing "his services to radical groups."
The men, who are charged separately, face 15 years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine if convicted.
They are awaiting a detention hearing Friday afternoon in Austin.
Wolfe referred to Al Qaeda representatives as "righteous brothers," according to the criminal complaint, even showing an undercover FBI agent a YouTube video of foreign fighters in Syria. He discussed which militant group he should join, including the brutal Islamist group ISIS, which is currently staging an offensive against Iraq.
The Texas native also told undercover officers he'd been physically preparing to join jihad by practicing "martial arts, running and crossfit," the competitive sport which uses military style techniques.
"This is something that's been going on for a while, since even the early 2000s," said former FBI special agent Steve Moore. "People from America have gone over to terrorist camps overseas, but sites like YouTube can be used to recruit people even in the United States very easily, where before they were out of reach."
Analysts believe as many as 100 American citizens have made the trek to fight in Syria.
Last month, an American suicide bomber who grew up in Florida set off a massive truck bomb at a Syrian military checkpoint.
Syrian jihadists tweeted several photos of the American before he took his life with bombs strapped to his chest.
Social media has become one of the many ways Al Qaeda recruits westerners to fight alongside radical Islamists.
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