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Kansas woman led female ISIS battalion in Syria, prosecutors say

<i>Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images</i><br/>The Department of Justice seal is seen on a lectern at the Department of Justice in Washington
AFP via Getty Images
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
The Department of Justice seal is seen on a lectern at the Department of Justice in Washington

By Sonnet Swire and Evan Perez, CNN

An American woman from Kansas who allegedly joined ISIS and led an all-woman battalion in Syria has been arrested and charged by federal prosecutors with providing and conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

Allison Fluke-Ekren, 42, was apprehended in Syria earlier and was transferred to FBI custody Friday, according to the criminal complaint and a Saturday news release from the Department of Justice. Fluke-Ekren allegedly wanted to recruit operatives to attack a US college campus and is accused of discussing a terrorist attack on a shopping mall, the Justice Department statement says.

“To conduct the attack, Fluke-Ekren allegedly explained that she could go to a shopping mall in the United States, park a vehicle full of explosives in the basement or parking garage level of the structure, and detonate the explosives in the vehicle with a cell phone triggering device,” the statement said.

The complaint was filed under seal in 2019 but made public Saturday after Fluke-Ekren was brought back to the US from Syria to face charges, according to the news release.

While in Syria, Fluke-Ekren was also appointed, prosecutors say, to lead and train women and children to use AK-47 assault rifles, grenades and suicide belts for ISIS starting in 2016.

She also allegedly provided the terrorist group and its members with “lodging, translating speeches made by ISIS leaders… and teaching extremist ISIS doctrine,” the statement said.

Her first appearance will be Monday at a federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, the Justice Department said. If convicted, Fluke-Ekren, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. She has not yet entered a plea, according to the news release, and CNN has not yet been able to determine if she has an attorney.

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