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U.S. Citizen Convicted Of Al Qaeda Ties, Conspiring To Kill Americans

Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, (R) appears with his defense lawyer Sean Maher (C) in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, January 7, 2016, in this courtroom sketch. (REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg)

A federal jury in New York returned a guilty verdict on Friday against an American citizen for nine counts, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and providing material support to terrorists.

Muhanad Mahmoud Al-Farekh now faces life in prison when he faces sentencing, according to the the U.S. Department of Justice.

Al-Farekh, according to the trial evidence, was involved in a variety of terrorist activities.

He provided material support to terrorists between December 2006 and 2009, court documents showed, in an attempt to kill U.S. officers, employees and military personnel in Afghanistan.

Al-Farekh was born in Texas and raised in Jordan. While attending the University of Manitoba in Canada, he and two other students left the university and traveled to Pakistan to commit “violent jihad against U.S. military personnel” there, court documents indicated.

Trial evidence showed Al-Farekh became radicalized while overseas and listened to jihadist lectures and watched their videos. Those videos included lectures by the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who is now deceased.

“Muhanad Mahoud Al-Farekh is al Qaeda terrorist who conspired to kill Americans overseas. The trial evidence showed that he was involved in a variety of terrorist activity, including a VBIED attack on a U.S military installation in Afghanistan in 2009,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Boente in a prepared statement. “With today’s guilty verdict, Farekh is being held accountable for his crimes.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rhode indicated that Al-Farehk’s membership and actions in al-Qaeda met the U.S. justice system on Friday.

“Today, an American al-Qaeda member was brought to justice in a U.S. courtroom,” said Rhode. “The jury’s verdict on all nine counts of the indictment established Farekh’s responsibility for a violent attack on members of our armed forces, his efforts to murder Americans and his commitment to one of the world’s most infamous terrorist organizations.”

According to the DOJ, one of Farekh’s co-conspirators, Ferid Imam, provided weapons and military training at an al Qaeda camp in Pakistan in 2008. That Imam’s trainees included Najibullah Zazi, Zarein Ahmedzay and Adis Medunjanin, of Queens, N.Y., who intended to carry out a suicide attack on the New York City subway system.

Imam was indicted for his role in the suicide attack plot, and Zazi and Ahmedzay pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Medunjanin was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

As previously reported by The Daily News Foundation, Al-Farekh was added on the government kill list in 2013. His U.S. citizenship complicated matters when it came to the decision of whether or not to authorize a plan to kill him.

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