A Saudi man living in Oklahoma with ties to al-Qaeda was arrested and charged with visa fraud and lying about his involvement with international terrorism.
Naif Abdulaziz M. Alfallaj, 34, first entered the U.S. in 2011 on a nonimmigrant visa due to his wife’s status as a foreign student, according to the Justice Department.
He was issued a private pilot’s license in November 2016 which was revoked last year when authorities began to suspect that he posed a risk for terrorism or air piracy.
Authorities charge that Alfallaj attended an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in 2000 and then lied on his visa application about it. Alfallaj’s fingerprints turned up an application to al-Farooq, a key al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. The application was found by the U.S. military at an al-Qaeda safe house in Afghanistan.
Alfallaj was indicted on two counts of visa fraud, each of which carry up to 10 years in prison, and one count of lying about his involvement in international terrorism, punishable by up to eight years in prison.
Most of the 19 terrorists in the September 11, 2001 attacks were from Saudi Arabia. A number of them took flight training classes in the U.S.
In another U.S. terror case, Munther Omar Saleh, 22, of Queens, who pleaded guilty to conspiring and attempting to provide material support to ISIS, was handed an 18-year prison sentence with another 10 years of supervised release.
On June 13, 2015, Saleh and his accomplice Fareed Mumuni tried to stab a federal agent
who was surveilling the pair. Saleh escaped arrest at the time, but four days later, when his home was being searched by federal agents, he tried again to stab a federal agent with a large kitchen knife.
The agent sustained only minor injuries as he was wearing protective body armor at the time.
Saleh and Mumuni also plotted to blow up the Statue of Liberty. The two had received instructions on how to build the pressure bomb they had planned to use from Junaid Hussain, a top ISIS recruiter and hacker from the UK.
Hussain, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Raqqa, Syria in 2015, was listed as number three on the U.S.’ Islamic State hit list and was linked to 30 jihadi plots around the world.
He directed fellow ISIS militants in the U.S. to behead counter-jihad activist Pamela Geller and was linked to the attack on her in Garland, Texas. Hussain was also thought to be responsible for publicizing a list of addresses and photos of U.S. military personnel.
Another key jihadi involved in the Statue of Liberty plot with Saleh was Australian ISIS kingpin Neil Prakash, considered one of the most dangerous ISIS terrorists. Prakash, 26, is currently in Turkish custody awaiting possible extradition to Australia.