Ahmed Mohammed el Gammal

Ahmed Mohammed el Gammal of Avondale, Arizona, is an Egyptian immigrant, naturalized U.S. citizen, and convicted Islamic extremist. He was charged in August 2015 with providing and conspiring to provide material support to ISIS, as well as aiding and abetting the receipt of military training from ISIS.“United States of America v. Ahmed Mohammed el Gammal,” accessed January 30, 2017, 1-8, https://www.justice.gov/opa/file/764556/download/. According to authorities, Gammal facilitated the travel of Samy El-Goarany, a 24-year-old New York college student, to Syria to “obtain military training from [ISIS].”“Arizona Man Charged with Providing Material Support to ISIS,” U.S. Department of Justice, August 27, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/arizona-man-charged-providing-material-support-isil. Prosecutors have said that by allegedly facilitating Goarany’s travel to Syria, Gammal delivered “human ammunition” to the terror group.Victoria Bekiempis, “Arizona man helped Baruch College student join and fight for ISIS, prosecutors allege,” New York Daily News, January 25, 2017, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/arizona-man-helped-baruch-college-student-join-isis-prosecutors-article-1.2955501/. Gammal pled not guilty to the charges, but was convicted in late January 2017. Upon finding him guilty, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara referred to Gammal as an “ambassador” for ISIS.Larry Neumeister, “NY student killed fighting for IS group defends man in video,” Associated Press, October 18, 2016, http://bigstory.ap.org/article/b03ed502a1514e2a819e12b21100c6f4/ny-students-group-death-will-likely-be-evidence-trial;
Niraj Chokshi, “Arizona Man Is Convicted of Helping New York City College Student to Join ISIS,” New York Times, January 30, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/30/us/samy-el-goarany-isis.html?_r=0.
In December 2018, he was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison.“Arizona Man Sentenced To 12 Years In Federal Prison For Providing Support To ISIS,” U.S. Department of Justice – Southern District of New York, December 18, 2018, https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/arizona-man-sentenced-12-years-federal-prison-providing-support-isis.

Goarany reportedly messaged Gammal via Facebook in August 2014 after seeing that he had posted pro-ISIS content online. The two communicated over social media in the following months. In one message, Gammal told Goarany that he would rather live “in a tent in an Islamic State” rather than in luxury in a secular nation, according to prosecutors.Katie Zavadski, “Mom and Dad Hid a Terrible ISIS Secret,” January 17, 2017, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/17/mom-and-dad-hid-a-terrible-isis-secret.html. Gammal flew to New York that October for two days to meet Goarany, and allegedly put the student in touch with his friend Atteia Aboualala, an Egyptian exile in Turkey who would help Goarany cross the border into Syria. Goarany traveled to Syria via Istanbul in January 2015.“Arizona Man Charged with Providing Material Support to ISIS,” U.S. Department of Justice, August 27, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/arizona-man-charged-providing-material-support-isil;
“NYC college student died fighting for ISIS in Syria last year,” Victoria Bekiempis, “NYC college student died fighting for ISIS in Syria last year,” New York Daily News, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-college-student-died-fighting-isis-syria-year-article-1.2835483;
“NYC College Student Died Fighting with ISIS in Syria,” ABC 7, October 18, 2016, http://abc7ny.com/news/nyc-college-student-died-fighting-with-isis-in-syria/1560911/;
“United States of America v. Ahmed Mohammed el Gammal,” accessed January 30, 2017, 4, https://www.justice.gov/opa/file/764556/download/;
Katie Zavadski, “Mom and Dad Hid a Terrible ISIS Secret,” Daily Beast, January 17, 2017, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/17/mom-and-dad-hid-a-terrible-isis-secret.html;
Katie Zavadski, “Mom and Dad Hid a Terrible ISIS Secret,” January 17, 2017, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/17/mom-and-dad-hid-a-terrible-isis-secret.html.
At some point thereafter, Goarany sent a text message to Gammal saying, “…everything is going according to plan,” according to authorities.“NYC College Student Died Fighting with ISIS in Syria,” ABC 7, October 18, 2016, http://abc7ny.com/news/nyc-college-student-died-fighting-with-isis-in-syria/1560911/;
“United States of America v. Ahmed Mohammed el Gammal,” accessed January 30, 2017, 4, https://www.justice.gov/opa/file/764556/download/.

Goarany died fighting in Syria in November 2015.Katie Zavadski, “Mom and Dad Hid a Terrible ISIS Secret,” January 17, 2017, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/17/mom-and-dad-hid-a-terrible-isis-secret.html;
Suman Varandani, “Who Is Ahmed Mohammed El-Gammal? Arizona Man Accused Of Helping NYC Student Join ISIS Faces Trial,” International Business Times, January 11, 2017, http://www.ibtimes.com/who-ahmed-mohammed-el-gammal-arizona-man-accused-helping-nyc-student-join-isis-faces-2473728.
Before his death, Goarany filmed a video in which he stated that he had traveled to Syria of his own will, saying “…nobody helped me along the way to get here—including Ahmed Mohammed El Gammal, in America.”Katie Zavadski, “Dead ISIS Terrorist Tries to Clear His Pal on Trial,” Daily Beast, January 18, 2017, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/18/dead-isis-terrorist-tries-to-clear-his-pal-on-trial.html.

Gammal’s defense attorneys have described him as a fully Americanized citizen, saying that he smokes Marlboro cigarettes and is a fan of Jimmy Carter.Victoria Bekiempis, “NYC college student who died fighting for ISIS got help from Arizona man: feds,” New York Daily News, January 10, 2017, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-student-died-isis-arizona-man-feds-article-1.2943040. However, according to his attorneys, Gammal is a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Islamist organization that held power in Egypt between June 2012 and July 2013.Katie Zavadski, “Mom and Dad Hid a Terrible ISIS Secret,” Daily Beast, January 17, 2017, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/17/mom-and-dad-hid-a-terrible-isis-secret.html. He was convicted in January 2017 on one count of providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist group [ISIS]; one count of conspiring to provide material support to such a group; one count of receiving military-type training from such a group; and one count of conspiring to receive military-type training from such a group.Larry Neumeister, “NY student killed fighting for IS group defends man in video,” Associated Press, October 18, 2016, http://bigstory.ap.org/article/b03ed502a1514e2a819e12b21100c6f4/ny-students-group-death-will-likely-be-evidence-trial;
Niraj Chokshi, “Arizona Man Is Convicted of Helping New York City College Student to Join ISIS,” New York Times, January 30, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/30/us/samy-el-goarany-isis.html?_r=0.

On December 18, 2018, Gammal was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison and three years of post-release supervision.“Arizona Man Sentenced To 12 Years In Federal Prison For Providing Support To ISIS,” U.S. Department of Justice – Southern District of New York, December 18, 2018, https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/arizona-man-sentenced-12-years-federal-prison-providing-support-isis. At sentencing, he called himself a “proud American” and asked for “forgiveness and mercy.” The judge said that Gammal was not the typical “true believer,” but noted that Gammal’s actions led to tragic consequences, including Goarany’s likely death while fighting for ISIS.Associated Press, “Man Sentenced for Helping Goshen High Grad Join ISIS,” Times Herald-Record, December 19, 2018, https://www.recordonline.com/news/20181219/man-sentenced-for-helping-goshen-high-grad-join-isis.

 
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