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Woman with Jamaican Connections tries to Join ISIS

Published:Monday | April 6, 2015 | 4:00 AM
Shown is the home of a woman who is accused of trying to join and martyr herself for the Islamic State group in Syria on Friday, April 3, in Philadelphia. Thirty-year-old Keonna Thomas appeared in federal court Friday afternoon just hours after her arrest on a charge of attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization.

United States authorities have arrested a Philadelphia woman with a connection to Jamaica and charged her with attempting to provide support to militant group Islamic State (IS).

The US Justice Department said the woman, who was arrested last Thursday, was planning to travel overseas to join the organisation.

Keonna Thomas, 30, also known as Fatayat al-Khalifah and YoungLioness, was charged with trying to provide material support and resources, including herself as a fighter, to a foreign terrorist organisation.

It's alleged that, having applied for a passport in February, she emailed a radical cleric in Jamaica, saying she had deactivated her Twitter account until she had left for for Syria to avoid attention.

Under Federal Bureau of Investigation surveillance, she allegedly emailed an IS extremist based in the group's stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria. According to the Justice Department, if convicted, Thomas faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Thomas is the second Syria-linked terror case involving US women announced by prosecutors in days.

Two women were arrested in New York last Thursday and charged with planning to build a bomb and to attack the United States, allegedly inspired by Al Qaeda and IS.

Jamaica's Ministry of National Security, last month, dismissed a claim by a US army general that Jamaicans have joined ISIS in Syria.