He was researching how to hijack airplanes and looking into how to breach a cockpit door.
Cholo Abdi Abdullah was suspected of planning a terrorist event similar to the September 11 attacks in the U.S. He was later formally charged and set to appear in a New York court.
The 30-year-old was accused of planning to crash an airliner into a building. According to reports, Abdullah trained in the Philippines to become a pilot and he was arrested in 2019 for possessing a bomb and a gun.
Abdullah was said to be a member of militant group Al-Shabab and that he was acting under the direction of the group’s senior commander. Abdullah travelled across the Philippines in 2016 and entered flight school for the purpose of obtaining training for carrying out the 9/11-style attack.”
He completed his training and got his pilot’s license in 2019, according to court documents. He is also accused of researching how to hijack airplanes when he was still in flight school, looking into how to breach a cockpit door.
He also allegedly sought information “about the tallest building in a major U.S. city, and information about how to obtain a U.S. visa.”
According to Acting Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss, this report is a “chilling call-back to the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001, is a stark reminder that terrorist groups like al Shabaab remain committed to killing U.S. citizens and attacking the United States.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney added that “nearly 20 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there are those who remain determined to conduct terror attacks against United States citizens. Abdullah, we allege, is one of them.”
Abdullah is now charged with “conspiring to provide and providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organisation (al-Shabaab) as well as conspiring to murder US nationals, conspiring to destroy aircraft, conspiring to commit aircraft piracy, and conspiring to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries.”
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