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Al Qaeda operative charged in NYC for Afghan, Nigerian terror plans

Federal prosecutors in New York City charged Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun in six-count conspiracy indictment to bomb U.S. troops in Afghanistan, diplomatic facilities in Nigeria and providing explosives and guns to Al Qaeda.

If convicted of all the charges in the indictment, Harun, also known as "Spin Ghul," faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.

The indictment, originally filed under seal by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn, on Feb. 21, 2012, relates to Harun’s alleged activities in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Africa beginning in 2001.

According to court documents, Harun, a Saudi-born Nigerian citizen, was extradited from Italy to the U.S. last Oct. 4, and was arraigned in a sealed proceeding in federal court in Brooklyn, on Oct. 5, said a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. A public status conference for the case is set for March 22 before a federal judge in a U.S. courthouse in Brooklyn.

According to the indictment and other court documents, beginning in 2001, Harun traveled from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan to wage violent jihad. Arriving in Afghanistan just before the September 11, 2001 attacks, he joined Al Qaeda, received military-type training at Al Qaeda training camps, and ultimately fought against U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan with a Pakistan-based Al Qaeda fighting group. According to the indictment, Harun allegedly attempted to kill U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2003. In 2003, in Pakistan, he got further al Qaeda training and traveled to Africa with the intent to conduct attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Nigeria. While in Nigeria, Harun allegedly conspired with others to bomb those facilities.

According to the indictment and other documents, after the arrest of a co-conspirator who the statement doesn’t name, Harun traveled to Europe, via Libya, but was apprehended in early 2005. Harun remained in Libyan custody until June 2011, when he was released by the Libyan government. He was then arrested by Italian authorities after assaulting officers on board a refugee ship bound for Italy. Harun was indicted in the U.S. on February 21, 2012.

On July 5, 2012, the Naples Court of Appeals found Harun was extraditable to face the charges in the indictment pending against him in U.S. federal court, under the two country’s extradition treaty. The Italian Minister of Justice ordered order Harun extradited on September 14, 2012. U.S. Federal agents took the defendant into custody in Italy on October 4, said the statement and he arrived in the U.S. the same.

 “As alleged in the indictment, the defendant was a prototype al Qaeda operative, trained by al Qaeda in terrorist tradecraft, deployed to fight American servicemen, and dispatched to commit terrorist attacks throughout the world,” said United States Attorney Loretta Lynch. “Whether they try to attack our servicemen on the battlefield or scheme to kill our diplomats and citizens in embassies abroad, terrorists will find no refuge. The United States will use every tool at our disposal to protect our nation’s security and stop terrorist attacks before they happen.”

“As more al Qaeda operatives continue to be flushed from hiding, the NYPD remains vigilant to the fact that terrorists have repeatedly since 9/11 plotted to kill more Americans,” said New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. “We are determined not to let that happen. I want to commend our federal partners and the U.S. Attorney in the prosecution of this important case.”