Two Iraqi nationals have been indicted on terrorism charges, the U.S. Attorney's office for the Western District of Kentucky announced Tuesday. The previously sealed indictment, returned last week by a federal grand jury, charged Waad Alwan and Mohanad Hammadi on 23 counts related to helping insurgents, including al-Qaida linked fighters, in Iraq.
Alwan and Hammadi, both residents of Bowling Green, were arrested on May 25th.
They are charged with attempting to provide material support to al-Qaida in Iraq and conspiracy to transfer, possess and export Stinger missiles. Alwan, an Iraqi citizen, also is charged with conspiracy to use improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against U.S. troops abroad in addition to distributing information on how to make and use IEDs.
Alwan told an FBI informant that he fought with Iraqi insurgents between 2003 and his arrest by Iraqi authorities in 2006, according to an FBI affidavit.
Alwan bragged about his sniper skills, saying that his "lunch and dinner would be an American."
In a recorded conversation, Alwan told the informant he used "hundreds" of IEDs while in Iraq. Specifically, Alwan discussed a time where he and another individual planted an IED near street trafficked by "American vehicles." In 2005, U.S. forces found an unexploded IED in Bayji, Iraq. Recent analysis found Alwan's fingerprints on a component of the bomb.
Alwan also provided the FBI informant, whom Alwan believed to have connections with Iraqi mujahidin and Osama bin Laden, with detailed diagrams of how to build and use IEDs. FBI explosives experts who analyzed Alwan's drawings confirmed the IEDs from those plans would have been operational if built.
Alwan also told the informant that he would be willing to train Iraqi insurgents.
Last November, Alwan picked up three rocket propelled grenade launchers (RPGs) and three Pulemyot Kalashnikova machine guns (PKMs) and delivered them to the informant, believing that the weapons were intended for al-Qaida and other Iraqi insurgents.
Alwan later recruited co-defendant Hammadi for the weapons delivery operation and, in February, both helped transport more weapons and explosives and placed them in hidden compartments in a tractor trailer. Hammadi and Alwan hid stacks of cash in the trailer.
"When I did it and returned back, I was so comfortable I want to fly from joy," Alwan said later.
In March, Hammadi and Alwan performed a similar operation with more cash and Stinger surface-to-air missile launcher systems, which were inert and provided by the FBI.
Like Alwan, Hammadi said he acted as an insurgent in Iraq and participated in IED attacks. Hammadi told the informant that his group in Iraq had 11 Russian surface-to-air-missile systems.
"Whether they seek shelter in a major metropolitan area or in a smaller city in Kentucky, those who would attempt to harm or kill Americans abroad will face a determined and prepared law enforcement effort dedicated to the investigation and prosecutions necessary to bring them to justice," said U.S. Attorney David J. Hale in a press release.
Alwan and Hammadi face life in prison if convicted on all 23 counts of the indictment.