Man indicted in alleged plot to stage 9/11-style attack

Cholo Abdi Abdullah was arrested in the Philippines in 2019

Louise Hall
Wednesday 16 December 2020 19:23 GMT
A federal Courthouse in New York
A federal Courthouse in New York (REUTERS)

New York federal prosecutors have indicted a Kenyan man who they allege had planned to stage a 9/11 style attack in collaboration with a terrorist organisation.

Cholo Abdi Abdullah, 30, who was arrested in the Philippines in 2019, has been indicted on charges alleging he conspired to hijack an aircraft and crash it into a building, an unsealed indictment revealed.

Prosecutors allege that Mr Abdullah received flight training in the Philippines to obtain a pilot’s license in preparation to carry out an attack.

Mr Abdullah pleaded not guilty during a brief court appearance on Wednesday and was ordered to be held without bond.

“This case, which involved a plot to use an aircraft to kill innocent victims, reminds us of the deadly threat that radical Islamic terrorists continue to pose to our nation,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said in a statement.

Acting Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss called it a “chilling callback to the horrific attacks of 11 September, 2001.”

Ms Strauss reportedly said the case was a “stark reminder that terrorist groups like al-Shabab remain committed to killing US citizens and attacking the United States.”

Prosecutors accuse the 30-year-old of starting planning the attack in 2016 under the direction of an al-Shabab commander.

The commander was also involved in planning a deadly attack in 2019 on a hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, prosecutors said.

Al-Shabab, a Somalia-based militant group and an al-Qaida affiliate, has been designated as a foreign terrorist organisation by the State Department.

A request for comment was sent to Mr Abdullah’s defense attorney by the Associated Press.

Reporting by the Associated Press

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