FBI eyeing Americans traveling to Syria
SYRIA - The FBI says it is taking a look at possible terror ties to Long Island.
According to the FBI, dozens of Americans have flown to Syria, received training and been fighting in the country’s civil war.
Federal officials say those people are being monitored when they come back to the United States, and News 12 Long Island has learned some of them are from the New York area.
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Rep. Peter King says the concern is that they would come back to the United States after receiving terrorist training from al-Qaida. King adds that with all of the investigations, it's assumed that our region could be a target for terror.
“I think it's safe to say if anyone goes to Syria, they will be looked at to see what they're doing when they go there,” King told News 12. “They're not going to have their rights violated, but it's going to be looked at, as when people go to Afghanistan, Yemen.”
Last year, 18-year old Justin Kaliebe, of Babylon, and 25-year-old Marcos Zea, of Brentwood, were accused of plotting to wage “violent jihad.” The FBI says Zea tried to join al-Qaida in Yemen although his family has strongly denied that.
Azhar Hussain, president of the Muslim Law Students Association at Hofstra University, says he agrees with the surveillance to a point.
“You really have to look at the specific circumstances of the person going,” said Hussain. “I've been to Pakistan to visit family and I would be upset to find out if the government was spying on me.”
Federal officials would not give specifics on the exact number of Americans being tracked, or exactly where in our area they live.