2 Yemeni nationals charged in US court with fighting for al Qaeda

21 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

2 Yemeni Men Charged In U.S. For Joining Al-Qaida To Attack American Forces.

NEW YORK (AP) — Two al-Qaida members from Yemen befriended an American recruit and helped him join the terrorist group, clearing the way for the New York native to hatch a plot against the Long Island Rail Road, prosecutors said Tuesday.Federal prosecutors said the case highlights how a foreign terrorist network trained, armed and deployed a U.S. citizen to be used in attacks against other Americans.

The US government has charged two Yemeni nationals for allegedly conspiring to murder Americans abroad, and providing material support to al-Qaeda, according to a complaint and arrest warrant. The suspects, Saddiq Abbadi and Ali Alvi, were arrested in Saudi Arabia and began making initial court appearances in federal court in Brooklyn on Sunday and Tuesday. Attorney Loretta Lynch said the defendants may have operated in the mountains of Afghanistan, but they now face justice in a courtroom in Brooklyn, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported. (TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. The charges stem from information supplied to investigators by Long Island native Bryant Neil Vinas, who was captured in 2008. “There is no escape from the reach of our law for violent terrorists, especially if they target our military,” U.S.

Originally filed under seal in April 2009, the complaint describes a cooperating witness who travelled to Pakistan in 2007 with the intention of “waging violent jihad” against the US, and who was able to join al-Qaeda in Pakistan with the help of Abbadi and Alvi. But what appears most intriguing about the case is the role of the American citizen, identified only as a confidential informant, who at some point was captured by U.S. authorities. The complaint also alleges that a second confidential source who travelled from Saudi Arabia to Iran and then to Pakistan corroborated information about the two Yemeni defendants. The two defendants later introduced Vinas, nicknamed “Ibrahim” or “Bashir al-Ameriki,” to senior al-Qaida members who agreed to give him weapons and other training, they say. His story illustrates what many U.S. officials warn may be happening with other U.S. citizens leaving the country and hooking up with terror groups, such as Islamic State.

Over time, al-Qaida leaders grew to view Vinas as a valuable asset because of his American passport and knowledge of transit systems and other potential targets within the United States, prosecutors say. Heim said Abbadi encouraged the American by showing him “a scar from a bullet wound that he sustained while fighting against United States military or Blackwater forces in Iraq.” He said Abbadi also showed the American “a clip on his Kalashnikov assault rifle that he had taken in Iraq as part of his ‘spoils of war.’” The three men would spend nights watching videos, including one “depicting jihadists celebrating after a successful attack,” Heim said in the complaint. When the emir of his fighting group was wounded, the American became an instructor on battlefield first aid, and how to dress a wound and perform CPR. Then he returned to the battlefield and in June 2008, Heim said, was part of an Al Qaeda group that attacked an Afghan National Police Station and a mosque in Gardez, Pakistan.

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