Philadelphia woman planned to join ISIS

She sought a jihadist husband and wished to commit a suicide attack.

Hillel Fendel ,

ISIS) flag
ISIS) flag

A mother of two from Philadelphia was charged on Friday with attempting to join the Islamic State.

Keonna Thomas, in her early 30's, admitted in federal court that she had been planning to abandon her two children, aged seven and nine, to fight for ISIS – and hopefully to carry out a suicide attack.

She told the judge, "I believe that I'm guilty of this charge." She said that the only reason she did not carry out her plan was that federal agents raided her home and arrested her the day she was due to leave.

The FBI monitored Thomas’s online communications with jihadists abroad between August 2013 and March 2015. For instance, in January 2014 she tweeted “Only thing I’m jealous of is when I see the smiles of shuhadaa [martyrs].”

Thomas began her terrorist career by posting extremist statements online in 2013 under the pseudonyms Fatayat Al Khilafah and YoungLioness. She gradually became more involved and ultimately asked a Jamaican Muslim cleric to help her marry a jihadist. With his help, she married an ISIS recruit in an online ceremony conducted over Skype.

When he asked her in 2015 if she wanted to carry out a suicide operation she replied, “That would be amazing. . . A girl can only wish." He responded, "I can help you fulfill your wish." He at one point also told her that if he would ever discover that his wife was a spy against ISIS, he would behead or shoot her; she responded that beheading "would be more personal."

Charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, she faces up to 15 years in prison.