New Yorker from Yemen Pleads Guilty to Terror Charges

Times Square in New York City (Photo: Creative Commons)
Times Square in New York City (Photo: Creative Commons)

A New York resident from Yemen pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in a Brooklyn court, reported Reuters.

Mohammed Rafik Naji, who told the court he was 38 or 39, faces 20 years in prison or deportation.

He was charged with attempting to provide support for ISIS and admitted that he traveled to Yemen in March 2015 where he tried to join the terror organization as well as get someone else to join.

In August, a paid law enforcement informant began communicating with Naji on Facebook. The informant met with Naji many times after Naji returned to the U.S. and recorded their conversations.

After the mass casualty attack in Nice, France in the summer of 2016, Naji told the informant he wanted to stage a similar attack in New York City’s Time Square.

In another terror case in the U.S., a senior Al-Qaeda operative was sentenced to life in prison for killing American troops in Afghanistan and plotting to bomb the U.S. embassy in Nigeria, reported The Washington Post.

Ibrahim Suleiman Adhan Adam Harun, 47, who was also known by his nom de guerre “Spin Ghul,” was called a “person of murderous zeal” by U.S. District Court Judge Brian M. Cogan. “This defendant killed two young men …  and he wanted to kill dozens if not hundreds of other Americans. I can’t think of a more serious crime.”

Harun, who was captured in 2012, was tried and convicted close to a year ago after a seven-year investigation into his activities. He refused to appear in court for his trial as well as his sentencing but was provided with a video feed of the proceedings in his cell.

Jordan Dennis , who was 15 years old when his brother Army Pfc. Jerod Dennis, 19, was killed by Harun in 2003, addressed Harun at the sentencing hearing saying, “Jerod was more than just a big brother. He would walk into any room and flood it with laughter and smiles. I have not stopped looking for him everywhere I go and in every face I encounter.”

Comrades of the felled soldiers were also present in the courtroom. One of them, David Cyr, Jr., who was Dennis’ team leader at the time (and who is now retired) spoke emotionally about his reaction to Dennis’ death, saying, “The last time I looked upon him it was the face of a confident and courageous warrior. . . . He’s no longer here. Should I speak about the survivors’ guilt that is my burden to this day?”

Brian Severino, a command sergeant major retiring just four days after the sentencing hearing, spoke about how the deaths of Dennis and Raymond Losano, 24, (the other soldier killed by Harun) affects him to this day.

Severino said he “separated” himself from his family as a result of their deaths and is unable to enjoy a normal life. “I let down Jared and Ray Losano by not protecting them and failed to bring them home,” he said. “It’s weighed on me” ever since.


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