Iraqi National Pleads Guilty to Supporting al-Qaida
by Abha Shankar • Aug 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm
An Iraqi national living in Bowling Green, Ky. pleaded guilty Tuesday to all 12-counts in a superseding indictment that included attempting to provide material support to al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) and conspiracy to transfer, possess and export Stinger missiles.
Mohanad Hammadi was indicted in May 2011 along with Waad Alwan on 23 counts related to helping terrorists, including al-Qaida fighters in Iraq.
Alwan, a fellow Iraqi national living in Bowling Green, pleaded guilty last December to all counts in the original indictment that included conspiracy charges related to killing U.S. troops in Iraq using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and sharing information on how to build and use IEDs with AQI members.
Both men were granted refugee status through the United States' Iraqi refugee program set up in 2007. Their entry exposed gaps in the screening of people seeking asylum under the program.
Alwan came under investigation of the FBI in 2010. He was approached by an FBI informant to work with a group to ship money and weapons to the mujahideen in Iraq. Alwan told the informant he fought alongside Iraqi insurgents between 2003 until his arrest by Iraqi authorities in 2006. He was later released.
FBI experts later found Alwan's fingerprints on an unexploded IED discovered by U.S. military personnel in Bayji, Iraq in September 2005.
In January 2011, Alwan recruited Hammadi to help in the shipment of weapons and money that he believed were intended for AQI and other Iraqi militants. The weapons included rocket-propelled grenade launchers, machine guns, cases of C4 plastic explosives, and sniper rifles. Hammadi and Alwan also discussed shipping "Strelas," a Russian-made, portable, shoulder-fired, surface-to-air missile launcher.
"In open court today, Mohanad Hammadi admitted to engaging in terrorist activities here in the United States. He admitted that he tried to send numerous weapons from Kentucky to Iraq to be used against American soldiers," said U.S. Attorney David J. Hale said in a Justice Department press release. The guilty plea "sends a strong message to anyone who would attempt similar crimes that they will face the same determined law enforcement and prosecution efforts."
Hammadi faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for December 26.
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