Suspected al-Qaida member indicted in NYC

A suspected al-Qaida member in custody in Germany was indicted Thursday in New York on charges he helped the terrorism network plot bombing attacks.

The indictment against the Moroccan man Abdeladim El-Kebir charges him with conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaida. It also charges him with plotting to use a destructive device.

El-Kebir was arrested in April with two other men in Germany. At the time, German officials said El-Kebir and two or three other suspects were working on making a shrapnel-laden bomb there to attack a crowded place such as a bus in spring or summer 2011.

It wasn’t immediately clear why the 30-year-old El-Kebir was indicted in New York, though many terror investigations are handled in the federal court there.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said federal prosecutors were seeking El-Kebir’s extradition, but declined further comment.

A written exchange with high-ranking al-Qaida member Sheikh Yunis al Mauritania that was found at El-Kebir’s home also indicated that he belonged to a group that American security officials last year warned may be plotting attacks in Europe, a German official told the AP in May, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.

The German official suggested that the letter contained some indication that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden had been kept abreast of the plot to attack Europe.

On the day of El-Kebir’s arrest, German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich released a statement saying the suspects had been under surveillance since November 2010.

After his arrest, German intelligence officials said el-Kebir received the assignment to carry out a bombing from a high-ranking al-Qaida member early last year. They said El-Kebir left Germany in early 2010, trained in an al-Qaida camp in Waziristan near the Afghan-Pakistan border and returned last year to carry out the attack. He had at one time resided in Germany on a student visa but later returned illegally after abandoning his studies.

If convicted on the U.S. charges, El-Kebir faces life in prison.

This article was written by Tom Hays and published by the Associated Press on November 12, 2011.

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Germany here.

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