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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Yemeni National Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Kill U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan

Defendant Received Military-Type Training from al-Qaeda and then Went to Afghanistan with the Taliban to Fight against U.S. Forces

Ali Alvi al-Hamidi, 31, a Yemeni national, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to murder U.S. nationals abroad, conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaeda and receiving military-type training from al-Qaeda.  The guilty plea took place before U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the Eastern District of New York.  At sentencing, al-Hamidi faces a maximum of life imprisonment.

The guilty plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers of the Eastern District of New York and Assistant

Director in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the FBI’s Washington, D.C., Field Office.

“Ali Alvi al-Hamidi went to the FATA to join al-Qaeda, received training from the terrorist organization, and later fought alongside the Taliban against coalition forces in Afghanistan,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “With this plea, he will be held accountable for his terrorist activity, including conspiring to kill members of our military.  The highest priority of the National Security Division is countering terrorist threats, and we will continue to use all tools available to bring justice to those who seek to harm American servicemen and women who bravely risk their lives in defense of our nation.”

“Today’s significant guilty plea demonstrates this office’s unwavering commitment to bring to justice those who fight against U.S. forces or assist al-Qaeda and others in their efforts to kill Americans at home or abroad,” said U.S. Attorney Capers.

“As we witnessed today, those who support designated foreign terrorist organizations like al Qaeda and seek to harm people will be held fully accountable under the law,” said Assistant Director in Charge Abbate.  “On a daily basis, the FBI and its partners face the challenge of an ever evolving threat environment.  Through our partnerships, both international and domestic, the FBI continues to track down those who aid and abet terrorist groups and ensure that they are brought to justice.”

In early 2008, al-Hamidi traveled to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan to join al-Qaeda.  Once there, he received training from al-Qaeda in the use of weapons, explosives and detonators.  During late spring and summer of 2008, al-Hamidi moved on to Afghanistan with Taliban forces for the purpose of fighting members of the U.S. military and coalition forces stationed there. 

The defendant also aided Bryant Neal Vinas, a U.S. citizen, in joining al-Qaeda.  Vinas traveled to Pakistan from Long Island, New York, hoping to join al-Qaeda and fight U.S. military forces in Afghanistan.  After participating in al-Qaeda’s military training program, Vinas and senior al-Qaeda external operations leadership devised a plan to conduct an attack on the Long Island Railroad in New York.  Vinas was arrested in 2008 before he could carry out this attack, and pleaded guilty in 2009 to conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals, providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization and receiving military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization.  Vinas is currently incarcerated pending sentence.

Assistant Attorney General Carlin joined U.S. Attorney Capers in extending his grateful appreciation to the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zainab Ahmad, Michael P. Canty and Douglas M. Pravda of the Eastern District of New York, with assistance provided by Trial Attorney Josh Parecki of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

Updated January 19, 2016