Parents of young NJ man accused of trying to join terrorists argue he was steered by FBI

NORTH BERGEN, N.J. (AP) — The parents of a New Jersey man accused of trying to join a terrorist group say they believe the FBI fueled the behavior that led to his arrest.

Mahmood and Nadia Alessa told The Record newspaper their 20-year-old son, Mohamed, had been monitored by the FBI since age 16 and was encouraged by an undercover agent to act like a terrorist.

Mohamed Alessa and 24-year-old Carlos Almonte were arrested June 5 as they prepared to board planes to Egypt. Authorities say they planned to travel to Somalia to seek terror training.

Alessa's parents say their son was traveling to Egypt to meet a 19-year-old Swedish Muslim he planned to marry.

Both are charged with conspiracy to kill, harm and kidnap people outside the United States.

FBI agent Michael Ward says there's not much authorities could have done to prevent the men's efforts.


Information from: The Record of Bergen County,