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Al-Qaeda Terrorist Convicted for 2003 Ambush of U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

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A Federal court in Brooklyn convicted al-Qaeda terrorist Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Harun on Thursday for his role in a 2003 ambush that killed two American servicemen in Afghanistan.

The Associated Press summarizes the case:

Harun, 46, was extradited from Italy to the United State in 2012. Prosecutors told jurors that while in Italian custody, he confessed that he threw a grenade and shot at an American military unit in a 2003 ambush that killed Army Pvt. Jerod Dennis, of Antlers, Oklahoma, and Air Force Airman Ray Losano, of Del Rio, Texas.

While on the run, Harun later masterminded a failed plot to bomb a U.S. embassy in Nigeria, the government said. He was under the direct supervision of Al Qaeda higher-ups, including some still held at Guantanamo Bay, it said.

“The defendant is a man who made terrorism his life story,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Melody Wells said in closing arguments on Thursday. “He made a career out of violent jihad.”

The Saudi-born defendant who claims Niger citizenship had insisted he was a “warrior” who should face a military tribunal rather than a civilian court prosecution. He refused to attend his trial, and his lawyers took the usual step of not giving a closing argument and focusing on post-trial motions challenging a conviction.

Nothing in that account is terribly comforting, from Harun masterminding bomb plots while evading the authorities, to al-Qaeda bosses in Gitmo supervising his efforts. Advocates of civilian trials for terrorists will point to his desire for military trial as a “warrior” to support the argument that military justice is what terrorists want, so treating them as criminal defendants is demoralizing.

Prosecutors described Harun as “hell-bent” on killing Americans, according to the New York Daily Newswhich some more details of his crime, and another uncomfortable detail about his flight from the law:

Tactical Air Coordinator Raymond Losano, 24, and Private Jerod Dennis, 19, were killed in the firefight. A bullet “practically ripped off” Losano’s jaw and Dennis “slowly bled to death” from a shot to the leg, said Jacobs, as members of Dennis’ family watched in the packed courtroom.

After the attack, Harun got the blessing from Osama bin Laden’s inner circle to carry out a mass murder, said Jacobs. Harun had his eyes on the American embassy in Nigeria, but the plan fell apart because Harun’s go-between with Al Qaeda bosses was arrested in Pakistan.

Harun ended up in Libya, where he was apprehended by authorities. He was released six years later and put on a refugee ship bound for Italy, where he admitted he was an Al Qaeda member.

(Emphasis mine.) To be more specific, this kill-crazed al-Qaeda fighter was in a Libyan jail until the government collapsed in 2011.

He was in the process of slipping into Europe from Libya on a refugee ship when he got into a fight with an officer on board and was arrested by the Italians. He was so eager to talk about his jihad aspirations that he waived his Miranda rights when American officials questioned him, and proved such a useful source of information about al-Qaeda that details of his case were kept secret for two years after his arrest.

Harun will be sentenced on June 22 and could face up to life in prison.


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