Federal prosecutors in New York have indicted a man who they say took direction from a “senior al Shabaab commander” and went to flight school in the Philippines so he could hijack a commercial airliner.
They say the man also sought information “about the tallest building in a major U.S. city.”The indictment, unsealed Wednesday, charges Cholo Abdi Abdullah with six counts which include multiple counts of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, conspiracy to commit aircraft piracy and conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens.
Hundreds of newly trained Shabaab fighters perform military exercises in the Lafofe area south of Mogadishu, Somalia on Feb.17, 2011.
Farah Abdi Warsameh / AP fileProsecutors allege Abdi Abdullah attended a flight school from 2017 and 2019 in the Philippines and obtained training, “ultimately completing the tests necessary to obtain his pilot’s license.”They say he also allegedly researched how he could hijack a commercial airliner and breach a cockpit door, and sought “information about the tallest building in a major U.S. city, and information about how to obtain a U.S. visa.”The charging documents say that Abdi Abdullah has been in the custody of law enforcement authorities in the Philippines since July 1, 2019 and he is arriving in New York to face charges in the custody of the FBI and New York Police Department.
More details are expected bot be announced today by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
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