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Press Release

Arkansas Man Charged With Providing Material Support to Al Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula While Overseas

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Bilal Al-Rayanni, also known as Bilal Kassim Alawdi, 28, a Yemeni national and resident of Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, was charged on August 8 in a two-count superseding indictment with providing and attempting to provide material support to Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, also known as Ansar al-Shari’a, a designated foreign terrorist organization, and making a false statement in a passport application.  Al-Rayanni remains in custody following his arrest and detention on the passport offense on June 27, 2019. 

The charges were announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney J. Cody Hiland for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Assistant Director Mike McGarrity of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division and Special Agent in Charge Diane Upchurch of the FBI’s Little Rock Division. 

Count one of the superseding indictment alleges that from on or about Oct. 1, 2014, through Dec. 31, 2014, while outside the United States, Al-Rayanni provided and attempted to provide material support and resources, in the form of personnel (including himself) and services, to AQAP knowing that the organization was a designated foreign terrorist organization, and knowing that the organization has engaged in and was engaging in terrorist activity and terrorism.   Count two alleges that Al-Rayanni provided a false name on his May 13, 2019, passport application.     

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Little Rock Division, the Little Rock Joint Terrorism Task Force and the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service.  The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas and the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

Updated August 9, 2019

National Security
Press Release Number: 19-854