An Algerian man was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison for conspiring with Americans and others to recruit men and women in Europe and the United States to a terrorist cell to wage violent jihad in the West.
Ali Charaf Damache, also known as "Theblackflag," led the terrorist cell, some of whose members intended to travel to South Asia to obtain explosives training and return to Europe to carry out terror attacks. Damache, who was extradited from Spain last year, pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.
Damache enticed Pennsylvania resident Colleen R. LaRose (a/k/a "Jihad Jane") and Jamie Paulin Ramirez, who lived in Colorado, to travel to Ireland, live with him and train for violent jihad. He also sought the help of 15-year-old Mohammad Hassan Khalid, a Pakistani citizen and U.S. permanent resident, to recruit violent jihadists to the terrorist cell that planned to train with al-Qaida for attacks in the West.
LaRose and Ramirez were regarded as "highly valuable recruits" to Damache since they held American passports and could travel around freely in the West. LaRose soon earned a reputation "as an aggressive hard-working force and her American background and appearance rendered her highly valuable to terrorists." She was tasked with killing Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who drew caricatures of Islam's prophet Muhammad. She was instructed to carry out the murder in a way that would frighten "the whole Kufar [non-believer] world."
LaRose and Damache traveled to Europe but were unable to reach Vilks, who survived a separate attack and whose home was set on fire.
The blonde-haired, blue-eyed LaRose was particularly valuable to Damache because she was able to travel without arousing suspicion. She moved to Ireland where she married Damache in an Islamic ceremony. Ramirez brought her son to Ireland and train in violent jihad with Daamche. She also videotaped her son talking with her about his desire to shoot "kuffar" [non-believers].
Upon completing his prison sentence, Damache will be deported to Ireland, where he is a citizen, or his country of origin Algeria.