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'My Name Is Abdel': Minnesotan Who Joined ISIS Speaks From Syrian Prison

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A former St. Louis Park man is in a Syrian prison right now, one of thousands of captured ISIS fighters.

CBS News' Holly Williams found the 22-year-old man while covering a story on a prison full of foreign ISIS fighters in North Eastern Syria.

Abdelhamid Al-Madioum wants to come back to the U.S., where he would face federal charges and at least 15 years in prison if convicted.

He told CBS' Holly Williams, "My name is Abdel. I come from Minnesota." He added, "I lived in the suburbs of Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Eden Prairie."

Al-Madioum is now 22. His former home was in St. Louis Park and he graduated from Hopkins High School in 2014. In 2015, he was a student at Normandale Community College and working part-time in the school's IT department. Court Documents say during a 2015 family vacation to Morocco, he slipped away, taking a solo flight to Istanbul. From there, he made his way to ISIS in Iraq.

He said he was shown ISIS propaganda of ISIS members helping refugees and thought that is what he would do.

"I will be very honest with you, I thought I was going to come and help people," Al-Madioum.

In a U.S. drone strike, Al-Madioum lost his arm, and his wife was killed. He also lost his two children.

"I have no idea where they are," he said.

A federal search warrant filed in 2015 describes computers and notes seized at his St. Louis Park home. Court documents describe his frantic family searching for him after he left Morocco for Iraq.

Williams asked him what he'd like to say to your mom and dad in Minnesota.

He said, "I would say, 'Mom and Dad, I am really, really sorry for hurting you guys, and you guys came to America seeking a better life, not for yourselves, but for me.'" He added, "'I hope that you will be able to forgive me.'"

Al-Abdelhamid's parents no longer live in that St. Louis Park home and we were unable to reach them for comment.

We did reach out to the U.S. Attorney's office and the FBI who both declined to comment.

His case does not appear to be related to a series of cases involving young Somali-American men leaving or trying to leave Minnesota for ISIS  in that same time period.


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