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Afghani Al-Qa'ida Recruiter in U.S. Convicted for Plot to Attack U.S. Military Personnel

Afghani Al-Qa'ida Recruiter in U.S. Convicted for Plot to Attack U.S. Military Personnel

Afghani naturalized U.S. citizen Sohiel Omar Kabir and Philipine citizen and “green card” holder Ralph Deleon were convicted this week of conspiring to kill officers and employees of the United States Government and providing material support to terrorists.

“This case shows that the appeal of extremist ideologies can reach from Afghanistan to America,” United States Attorney Stephanie Yonekura stated.

Kabir, 36, was exposed at trial to have, in 2010, introduced Deleon, 25, and another man, Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales, to radical Islamic ideology. An Afghani, Kabir had been naturalized as a United States citizen. Then in late 2011, Kabir returned to Afghanistan to join designated terrorist organization Al-Qa’ida, encouraging Deleon and Santana to follow.

A Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) source undercover met with Deleon and Santana in February, 2012, and they discussed radical Islamic views followed by springtime conversation that exposed the plot to travel overseas and engage in “violent jihad,” according to evidence provided in court. The plan involved attacking U.S. military personnel and bases.

Deleon and Santana recruited Arifeen David Gojali in September, 2012 to join the plot to “commit violent jihad.” The three were to travel to Mexico and board a plane to Afghanistan, where they would train and join the Taliban and Al-Qa’ida. In preliminary training, the men honed their skills at southern California firearms and paintball facilities to prepare for overseas training.

“The threat posed to America’s security by individuals within the United States who support terrorists is very real,” Bill Lewis, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office stated. “This case demonstrates the process by which individuals living in the United States were groomed and radicalized toward an extremist ideology and, ultimately, planned the murder of American and coalition forces.”

In an article posted to Breitbart last week, Steven Emerson, head of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, reportedly said to Judge Jeanine Pirro on Fox News, “The FBI has been handcuffed in terms of investigating religious extremists in mosques, as a result of guidelines put out by the attorney general earlier this year.”

It was noted in the article that a former FBI official referenced IPT as invaluable in assistance for research on the “real goals and objectives of the wide spread and powerful Islamist movement,” as IPT is not restricted by those same guidelines.

Emerson also told Pirro, “There are recruiters going around the country in other mosques, where they identify potential volunteers. They test them out to see if they’re willing to die on behalf of martyrdom of the cause for Allah.”

Deleon, Santana, and Gojali were arrested in late 2012. American military personnel apprehended Kabir in Afghanistan. Santana and Gojali pled guilty previously to their charges.

Kabir was additionally convicted of conspiring to provide material support and resources to Al-Qa’ida and conspiring to kill officers and employees of the United States Government, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Deleon was additionally convicted of conspiring to commit murder, kidnapping, or maiming overseas.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana

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