Prosecutors reveal link between terror defendant in Virginia and Islamic State ’empress’ from Kansas

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A northern Virginia man arrested on terrorism expenses has a husband-wife relationship with one other American who was dubbed by authorities as an “ empress of ISIS ” for her work to determine an all-female battalion of the Islamic State, prosecutors stated Wednesday.

Mohammed Chhipa, 33, of Springfield, Virginia, was arrested final week on expenses that he offered assist to a terrorist group. Prosecutors allege that he transferred almost $200,000 in cryptocurrency, with a few of that cash traced again to the Islamic State, to assist Chhipa’s acknowledged purpose of serving to smuggle feminine ISIS members from detention camps. Other funds stay unaccounted for.

At a detention listening to Wednesday, prosecutors additionally disclosed a relationship between Chhipa and Allison Fluke-Ekren, an American from Kansas who’s serving a 20-year jail sentence. Fluke-Ekren pleaded responsible final yr to organizing and main the Khatiba Nusaybah, a battalion in which roughly 100 girls and women — some as younger as 10 — realized find out how to use automated weapons and detonate grenades and suicide belts.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Aminoff informed the choose that Chhipa considers himself to be married to Fluke-Ekren, though the wedding was apparently carried out on-line and has no authorized standing in the U.S. He stated Chhipa, a naturalized U.S. citizen initially from India, has been attempting to undertake Fluke-Ekren’s kids.

Court paperwork in Fuke-Ekren’s case don’t point out Chhipa by title, but additionally point out that Fluke-Ekren thought-about herself to be married to a person she met on-line. It will not be clear that the 2 have ever met in individual.

Whatever the connection between Chhipa and Fluke-Ekren, the fees towards Chhipa seem unrelated to that relationship. Prosecutors say that between November 2019 and July 2022, Chhipa used digital foreign money to switch greater than $188,000 to accounts recognized and unknown. An FBI affidavit states that some cash stays unaccounted for however that $18,000 went to wallets recognized for use by ISIS girls situated in Syria, whereas $61,000 went to cryptocurrency wallets in Turkey. The affidavit states that cash meant to reach in Syria is commonly routed by way of Turkey.

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The affidavit quotes textual content messages despatched by Chhipa indicating he wished the cash for use to bribe guards at detention camps the place households of Islamic State fighters are nonetheless being held.

The affidavit says Chhipa additionally met with an FBI “controlled persona” — both an spy or a confidential supply — and accepted money from the person. Chhippa then transferred the cash to Bitcoin and despatched it on to a recognized ISIS member, based on the affidavit.

Chhipa has been below investigation for years. Indeed, prosecutors say he fled to Egypt in August 2019, fearing he could be arrested after his residence was raided. He was introduced again to the U.S. after authorities contacted Interpol, however he was not charged till Monday. Prosecutors say Chhiipa continued to have interaction in unlawful conduct after he returned to the U.S., although he know he was drawing authorities’ scrutiny.

Family members who attended Wednesday’s listening to didn’t remark, however handed out a written assertion supporting him. The assertion described Chhipa “as tirelessly working for the betterment of women and children” and stated he “has been focused by false allegations.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John Anderson dominated on the conclusion of Wednesday’s listening to that Chhipa ought to stay jailed whereas he awaits trial.


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