According to the New York Daily News, Manhattan Federal Court records show that an Orange County man was killed in Syria last November, fighting in allegiance with ISIS. Twenty-four-year-old Samy Mohammed El-Goarany was a 2008 graduate of Goshen High School and reportedly attended a New York City university before flying to Turkey in January 2015 and crossing into Syria soon after.
Ahmed Mohammed El-Gammal, of Avondale, Arizona, is alleged to have helped facilitate Goarany’s trip, and has since been charged by the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara on counts ranging from conspiring to provide a terror group with material support to aiding and abetting the provision of ISIS training and conspiring to receive training. Court papers purport that Goarany reached out to Gammal through social media in August 2014 after seeing he had posted ISIS-sympathetic content online. The documents continue to allege that following further digital interaction, Gammal visited Goarany in New York that October and connected the Hudson Valley native to a co-conspirator in Turkey.
Daily News adds that said co-conspirator requested that Goarany make a video insisting he came to Syria without Gammal’s assistance, and that Goarany subsequently attested on camera that, “I didn’t come to this decision with anybody’s influence or anybody’s recruitment. I came here. It was my decision and mine alone,” even mentioning Gammal by name in an attempt to exonerate him. Gammal’s lawyer, however, is fighting against use of the video in court, worried that it may, in fact, prejudice his client.
We will update you as more information is available.