Islamic State: Father of British Isis fighter admits role as al-Qaeda spokesman after 1998 US embassy bombings

Adel Abdul Bary, 54, has faced a string of more serious terror charges

Lizzie Dearden
Sunday 21 September 2014 11:45
A court sketch of Adel Abdul Bary, 54, on 19 September
A court sketch of Adel Abdul Bary, 54, on 19 September

The father of a British jihadist believed to be fighting with the Islamic State (Isis) in Syria has admitted involvement in the 1998 al-Qaeda US embassy bombings.

Adel Abdul Bary, 54, pleaded guilty to three counts including making bomb threats and conspiring to murder American citizens abroad in New York on Friday.

The deadly terrorist attacks in Kenya and Tanzania on 7 August 1998 killed 224 people in simultaneous explosions outside US embassies.

Bary admitted acting as a spokesman for al-Qaeda after the bombings, liasing with journalists and Osama bin Laden himself after the group claimed responsibility.

“I arranged to transmit messages from media personnel to my co-conspirators, al-Zawahiri and bin Laden,” his statement said.

He wept through the hearing and at one point, paused to take off his glasses and wipe away tears. The judge had earlier been told that he was being treated for depression.

Bary is the father of Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, who was known as L Jinny during his rap career at home in London.

Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary pictured here in a YouTube video showcasing his rapping

The 24-year-old is believed to have travelled to Syria to fight with Isis and has posted pictures of himself that appear to be have taken around Raqqa with corpses.

He had lived in Maida Vale, west London, with his mother and five siblings and openly talked about his absent father in his songs.

In “The Beginning”, he sings: “Give me the pride and the honour like my father, I swear the day they came and took my dad, I could have killed a cop or two.”

Bary, an Egyptian refugee thought to be one of Osama Bin Laden’s closest lieutenants, was extradited from Britain to the United States on charges of terrorism in 2012.

His son is thought to be one of many British Islamists fighting with Isis examined by authorities investigating the cell behind the murder of James Foley, Steven Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines.

They have also threatened to behead Alan Henning, a charity volunteer for Salford, and journalist John Cantlie.

All three murders appear to have been carried out by the same British militant known as “jihadi John” but security agencies have not confirmed whether he has been identified or released a name.

The older Bary faces a maximum of 25 years in prison under a plea deal, which was not immediately accepted by US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who raised concerns about hundreds of more serious charges against him that have not been proved.

Barack Obama and George W Bush attend a memorial for the victims of the 1998 US Embassy bombing in Dar es Salaam

“You can well appreciate why I have questions in my mind,” Kaplan said.

The judge gave the Government and Bary's lawyers one week to submit letters explaining why he should accept the deal and if it is rejected, the case may go to trial.

Attorney Sean Buckley told the court that Bary was not directly involved in the killings but is accused of disseminating claims of responsibility while liasing between media outlets and senior al-Qaeda figures, including bin Laden and his successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Mr Buckley said prosecutors felt the charges “were appropriate with regard to this defendant and the role he played in a much larger conspiracy”.

Bary's guilty plea came less than two months before he was set to face trial in New York alongside two co-defendants, Libyan Abu Anas al-Liby and Saudi Khalid al-Fawwaz, who have both pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges.

Additional reporting by AP and Reuters

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