An al-Qaida fighter who prosecutors said had worked under a deputy to Osama bin Laden was convicted Thursday of federal terrorism charges for his role in an attack that left two U.S. servicemen dead in Afghanistan.
Jurors in Brooklyn deliberated for about two hours before convicting Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Harun of conspiracy in a 2003 ambush that killed Army Pvt. Jerod Dennis and Air Force Airman Ray Losano.
In the attack on a military patrol, Harun fired a machine gun and tossed grenades at American soldiers while shouting “Allahu Akhbar” or “God is Great,” prosecutors said.
“As demonstrated by this case, the United States will be tireless in its efforts to hold al-Qaida members accountable when they target American citizens serving their country abroad,” acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Rohde said in a statement.
Harun, 46, who is a citizen of Nigeria born in Saudi Arabia, was extradited from Italy to the United States in September 2012 after being indicted in February of that year.
Prosecutors said that while Harun was in Italian custody, he confessed that he threw a grenade and shot at an American military unit in the ambush that killed Dennis of Antlers, Oklahoma, and Losano of Del Rio, Texas.
Harun took part in an unsuccessful plot to bomb the U.S. embassy in Nigeria, prosecutors said.
According to prosecutors, he was under the supervision of al-Qaida leaders, including a deputy of bin Laden.
“The defendant is a man who made terrorism his life story,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Melody Wells said in her closing argument Thursday. “He made a career out of violent jihad.”
Harun had insisted he was a “warrior” who should face a military tribunal rather than a civilian court prosecution and refused to attend his trial.
He faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced June 22.