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Cab driver who tried to help Islamic State gets 11 years

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A taxi driver caught helping a friend try to join the Islamic State group during an FBI sting has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Twenty-six-year-old Mahmoud Elhassan of Woodbridge, Virginia, was arrested last year after he drove Joseph Farrokh to the Richmond airport, where he planned to begin a trip to join the Islamic State in Syria.

Prosecutors say Elhassan, who started a prayer table outside the Verizon Center in Washington seeking to proselytize others to Islam, offered himself online as a "sleeper cell" to overseas radicals.

The government sought a term closer to the 28-year maximum at a hearing Friday in Alexandria, Virginia.

Elhassan's lawyers asked for a term of four to six years.

Farrokh was previously sentenced to 8½ years in prison.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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