Indiana widow faces terrorism-related charges accused of providing support for ISIS

An Indiana woman who left her home and job at a packing company in Elkhart and became an ISIS bride now new faces federal charges.

Samantha Marie Elhassani, 32, was charged in federal court on August 22 with conspiring to provide material support to ISIS.

She’s also been charged with aiding and abetting individuals in providing material support to ISIS.

Elhassani previously said in an interview with CNN that in 2014 her husband, Moussa Elhassani, promised her a new cheaper life, and they planned to move to Morocco together.

But instead they ended up in ISIS territory in Syria. She said she was afraid if she didn’t follow her husband, her children would be taken away forever.

After her capture in Syria, Elhassani told PBS Frontline in March that her husband tricked the family into traveling to ISIS territory.

“You have to understand I was afraid for our lives,” said Elhassani.

Elhassani's husband ultimately died fighting for ISIS in 2017, and she was held in a Kurdish detention camp with her four children after ISIS’s collapse in Raqqa. She was transferred to U.S. custody and later flown back to America.

Yet according to a grand jury indictment, from the fall of 2014 to the summer of 2015, Elhassani is accused of procuring tactical gear and funds for their use in fighting for ISIS, which has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization.

During the families time overseas, Elhassani's 10-year-old son was featured in an ISIS propaganda video.

Still, in a second interview in April, Elhassani again claimed her husband duped her and her four kids into joining ISIS during a family vacation.

“I thought we could just walk across the border and we could come back again,” said Elhassani.

In July, Elhassani was also charged with marking false statement to the FBI. The Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Indianapolis Division, Grant Mendenhall, said in a written statement, "The charges against Ms. Elhassani illustrate that actions of providing support to ISIS have serious consequences, and should serve as a reminder to American citizens that providing assistance to terrorist organizations or individuals aligned with terrorist entities will not be tolerated."

If convicted, the federal judge would determine Elhassani’s punishment.

In the meantime, Elhassani's four children were put in the care of the Indiana Department of Child Services.