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Arizona Woman Arrested After Attempting To Support al-Qaida

An Arizona woman has been arrested for allegedly providing material support to al-Qaida. 

Officials from the Department of Justice and the FBI said Jill Marie Jones had been communicating with two undercover FBI employees, "one of whom she believed was a member of al-Qaida."

Jones allegedly gave the undercover agent a $500 prepaid gift card that she believed would be used to purchase scopes and rifles that al-Qaida would then use to kill American soldiers.

A criminal complaint against Jones says she also bought plane tickets and was planning to travel overseas to join al-Qaida in the Middle East.

The FBI said it arrested Jones at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix on Wednesday after she checked into a flight bound for Turkey.

The operatives she was corresponding with were actually undercover FBI agents, as U.S. Attorney Michael Bailey explained.

"A $500 visa gift card she believed she was sending to support international terrorism," Bailey said. "According to the allegations in the complaint, (she was) very aware the funds would be used to buy firearms and other weapons that would in turn be used to kill Americans," Bailey said. 

Jimmy Jenkins is a senior field correspondent at KJZZ and a contributor to NPR’s Election 2020 and Criminal Justice station collaborations. His work has been featured on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, Here and Now, The Takeaway and NPR Newscasts.Originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, Jenkins has a B.S. in criminology from Indiana State University and a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University.Much of his reporting has focused on the criminal justice system. Jenkins has reported on Tasers, body cameras, use of force, jail privatization, prison health care and the criminal contempt trial of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.