Two Yemeni terror suspects were flown to New York for trial amid allegations they had helped a Long Island man who plotted to bomb the Long Island Rail Road meet al-Qaida leaders in Pakistan, federal agents say.
Saddiq al-Abbadi and Ali Alvi are charged in Brooklyn federal court with conspiracy to murder Americans and material support for terror, authorities said.
Prosecutors said the men are al-Qaida operatives who targeted U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. FBI agents said Alvi also helped Long Island native Bryant Neal Vinas meet and train with top al-Qaida operatives in Pakistan in 2008.
Vinas was captured by Pakistani forces in 2008 and transferred to FBI custody. In January 2009, he pleaded guilty to all three charges against him in the plot to bomb LIRR trains heading to and from Penn Station and is now cooperating with U.S. investigators as part of a plea deal.
Alvi, 30, is accused of traveling from Yemen through Iran to meet with al-Qaida leaders in Pakistan, including a top explosives expert with the terrorist group. Federal prosecutors said Alvi trained with explosives, AK-47’s and other weapons before crossing into Afghanistan in late 2008 to scout U.S. military positions for an attack.
Al-Abbadi is also accused of helping target U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Prosecutors said one attack in May 2008 killed a U.S Army Ranger and wounded several other military members. The 36-year-old allegedly fought U.S. forces in Iraq from 2003 to 2007, according to court documents.
Both Alvi and al-Abbadi were captured by Saudi security forces and turned over to the U.S. for trial, officials said.
"There is no escape from the reach of our law for violent terrorists, especially if they target our military,” said U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch. "Al-Abbadi and Alvi may have operated in the mountains of Afghanistan, but now they face justice in a courtroom in Brooklyn.”
A detention memo filed by prosecutors said Vinas plans to testify against the two men, including how he met them, trained with them and knows first-hand some of their past plans to target U.S troops. Investigators said Alvi made statements about his alleged involvement when questioned.
Alvi was in court Sunday and al-Abbadi is expected to appear Tuesday afternoon. Both men, if convicted, could face life in prison.