Al-Qaeda operative will get life time period for terror offences

Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun was convicted on March 16, 2017. (representational photo) Top News

Al-Qaeda operative Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun has been sentenced to life in prison, the Department of Justice said on Saturday.

The sentencing comes following his conviction by a jury on multiple terrorism offences, including conspiracy to murder American military personnel in Afghanistan and bomb the US embassy in Nigeria.

He was convicted on March 16, 2017.

“The evidence presented at trial established that the defendant and other jihadists attacked a US military patrol in Afghanistan, resulting in the death of two American soldiers and the serious injury of others,” Acting Assistant Attorney General James O’Callaghan said.

Commissioner James P. O’Neill of the NYPD said Harun was a dedicated and early soldier in Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda, joining just weeks before the September 11 attacks.

“Harun will rightfully spend the rest of his life behind bars. This department — with our partners in law enforcement —  remains deeply committed to combating terrorism from New York to Nigeria — and everywhere in between,” he said.

As proven at trial, Harun travelled from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan weeks before September 11, 2001, where he joined al-Qaeda, trained at al-Qaeda training camps, and eventually swore allegiance to Osama bin Laden.

Harun, 47, also known by the nom de guerre “Spin Ghul,” a Pashto name meaning “White Rose,” then travelled with other al-Qaeda jihadists to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, where he operated under Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi, one of bin Laden’s deputies and a senior al-Qaeda military commander.

On April 25, 2003, Harun and fellow al-Qaeda jihadists ambushed a US military patrol near the Afghan-Pakistan border. Harun fired machinegun rounds and threw grenades at American soldiers and allied Afghan Militia Forces while shouting “Allahu Akhbar” or “God is Great.”

Two US servicemen were killed in the attack — Private First Class Jerod Dennis, 19, of Oklahoma, and Airman First Class Raymond Losano, 24, of Texas — and several other soldiers were seriously wounded.

After the ambush, Harun met with senior al-Qaeda officials — including Abu Faraj al-Libi, then al-Qaedas external operations chief — to express his desire to commit acts of terror against US interests outside Afghanistan.Â

He specifically sought to carry out attacks similar to the 1998 al-Qaeda bombings of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which resulted in more than 200 deaths and 4,000 injuries, federal prosecutors said.

In the summer of 2003, senior al-Qaeda leaders dispatched Harun from Pakistan to Nigeria to bomb the US Embassy in Abuja.Â

Harun’s al-Qaeda handler directed him to obtain one ton of explosives for the bombing operation and to target Americans — whom he described as “the head of the snake” — at embassies, hotels and other “places where they gather for fun.”Â

Upon arriving in Nigeria, Harun recruited accomplices, scouted the Embassy and other potential Western targets, and sent an accomplice to find explosives.Â

He also met with local terrorist leaders to expand al-Qaedas terrorist network in West Africa.

In 2004, Harun directed a co-conspirator to courier information and materials from Nigeria to al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan.Â

After learning that the co-conspirator had been arrested in Pakistan, Harun fled Nigeria to Libya, from where he planned to enter Europe to carry out terrorist attacks against Western interests.Â

In early 2005, however, Harun was arrested by Libyan authorities and held in custody until his release in June 2011.Â

Harun was arrested in June 2011 by Italian authorities.  He was indicted on terrorism changes in the US in February 2012 and extradited from Italy later that year, the Department of Justice said.

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