Feds: Brooklyn Man Traveled To Iraq To Wage "Jihad" - NBC New York

Feds: Brooklyn Man Traveled To Iraq To Wage "Jihad"



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    Sketch by Arthur Lien
    Sketch of hearing in US Dist. Court in Alexandria, Virginia for Sabirhan Hasanoff (left) and Wesam El Hanafi (right). Sketch by Arthur Lien.

    A Brooklyn man charged with swearing allegiance to al Qaeda pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan courtroom Monday.

    Prosecutors said Sabirhan Hasanoff traveled to Iraq and other Mideast countries to try to help the terror organization and to try to wage violent jihad.

    "He performed real and tangible work on behalf of the (terror) group," said assistant U.S. attorney John Cronan. He added that Hasanoff received "specific assignments" from al Qaeda operatives.

    Hasanoff was arrested last month, along with Wesam El-Hanafi, in Dubai and they were sent back to the U.S. for trial. Magistrate Judge James Francis ordered Hasanoff held behind bars without bail citing risk of flight and danger to the community.

    Hasanoff has dual citizenship in both the U.S. and Australia. His defense lawyer Anthony Ricco said he is married with two children and has worked for a Dubai holding company for the last 10 months.

    More than a dozen family and friends attended the hearing offering to raise a more than $2 million bond hoping Hasanoff would be  placed on home confinement. Hasanoff is a Baruch College graduate who owns a $750,000 Brooklyn home.

    Prosecutors said Hasanoff and El-Hanafi purchased Casio watches and wired money to al Qaeda members.  "Casio digital watches are valued by al Qaeda because they can be modified for use in explosives," Cronan said.

    Prosecutors also say they have a witness, email communications and travel records that link the men directly to the terror group.

    Officials said the two men used their computer expertise to help al Qaeda members improve their clandestine communications.

    Investigators said last year, several of their overseas terror contacts were arrested. Since then, investigators said the Brooklyn men were seeking new al Qaeda operatives to help in "jihad."

    After the court hearing, family members declined to comment -- although at one point, they shoved a still photographer who was trying to take their picture.