An American citizen has been charged with conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals, use a weapon of mass destruction and bomb a government facility because of his role in a January 2009 attack at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan, prosecutors said.
Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, 30, who was born in Texas, will be arraigned Thursday at U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, before Judge Brian M. Cogan.
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Federal officials say Farekh assisted in the preparation of an improvised explosive device that was to be used in the attack.StoryTerrorist attacks around the world since Sept. 11, 2001CommentaryOpinion: How to watch the news after a terror attack
They say two co-conspirators drove vehicles to the base: the first man detonated his explosive, but the second man did not.
Farekh’s fingerprints were recovered from packing tape on that second explosive, authorities said. He could face from seven years to life in prison if convicted, prosecutors said.
The indictment also charges that between December 2006 and September 2009, Farekh “provided, attempted to provide and conspired to provide material support to al-Qaeda.”
Similar charges were brought against him in May.
The indictment was announced Wednesday by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers of the Eastern District of New York, Assistant Director in Charge Diego G. Rodriguez of the FBI’s New York Field Office and NYPD Commissioner William J. Bratton.
“Farekh, a citizen of the United States, allegedly turned his back on our country and tried to kill U.S. soldiers in the course of executing their sworn duty to keep us safe,” said Capers. “Today’s charges demonstrate that the patriotism and service of the members of our armed forces will never be forgotten.”
Farekh also is being charged with using explosives.
“This indictment demonstrates justice has no bounds and the United States government will seek to investigate and prosecute crimes against Americans, no matter where they take place,” said Rodriguez.
Federal authorities say that in 2007, Farekh and two co-conspirators left Canada for Pakistan, intending to fight against American forces. Though they did not tell their families about their plans, they told a Canadian friend “that he should not expect to hear from them again because they intended to become martyrs.”
Court records say the men lived in Winnepeg and were enrolled as students at the University of Manitoba. A close associate of theirs said the men “frequently viewed videos encouraging violent jihad, including online lectures by the now-deceased al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki.”
One of Farekh’s co-conspirators — Ferid Imam — subsequently provided weapons and other military-type training at an al-Qaida training camp in Pakistan in approximately September 2008, according to public testimony in previous criminal trials.
Among Imam’s trainees were three individuals — Najibullah Zazi, Zarein Ahmedzay and Adis Medunjanin — who intended to return to the United States to conduct a suicide attack on the New York City subway system.
Zazi and Ahmedzay pleaded guilty pursuant to cooperation agreements and have yet to be sentenced; Medunjanin was convicted after trial and sentenced to life in prison, authorities said.
Imam has also been indicted in connection with his role in the plot, federal officials said.