A chilling confession from a captured ISIS fighter has shed light on how the terrorist group intended to exploit the vulnerabilities of the U.S. border with Mexico, using English speakers and westerners to take advantage of smuggling routes and target financial institutions.
Seized ISIS fighter Abu Henricki, a Canadian citizen with dual citizenship with Trinidad, last month said that he was sought out by the violent insurgency’s leadership to attack the U.S. from a route starting in Central America, according to a study by the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) and published in Homeland Security Today.
“ISIS has organized plots in Europe with returnees so it seems entirely plausible that they wanted to send guys out to attack. The issue that makes a North American attack harder is the travel is more difficult from Syria,” Anne Speckhard, who co-conducted the study as the director of ICSVE and Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University, told Fox News. “So the idea that they would instead use people who were not known to their own governments as having joined ISIS might make it possible for them to board airplanes.”
Henricki allegedly traveled to Syria with the intention of serving as an ISIS fighter, but was later told he could not take on soldier duties due to a chronic illness. At the end of 2016, he claimed to have been “invited” by the ISIS intelligence wing – known as the emni – to join other Trinidadians and launch financial attacks on the U.S.
The attacks were described to Henricki as designed to “cripple the U.S. economy,” and he was said to have been informed that he would be issued false identification and passports and would be maneuvered from Puerto Rico to Mexico and then to the United States.
“The plan came from someone from the New Jersey state of America. I was going to take the boat from Puerto Rico into Mexico. He was going to smuggle me in,” the ISIS cadre continued.
He further elaborated that he believed the scheme was aimed at New York financial targets.
“They wanted to use these people (to attack inside the U.S.) because they were from these areas,” Henricki told the scholars, indicating that they were either from North America or were English speakers.