The United States authorities have charged terrorism with a Kenyan for his alleged plans to hijack a plane and carry out an attack similar to those of September 11 2001 against US targets on behalf of the Somali jihadist group Al Shabaab.
The US Department of Justice has indicated in a statement that the suspect, identified as Cholo Abdi Abdullah, received pilot training and investigated ways to try to hijack a plane with the aim of carrying out an attack.
Abdullah He was arrested in July 2019 in the Philippines and handed over to US authorities on Tuesday. in view of his extradition, which took place that same day. The suspect is scheduled to appear this Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan.
Manhattan prosecutor Audrey Strauss has pointed out that Abdullah is suspected of being part of “a terrorist plot led by senior Al Shabaab officials” and added that the man obtained pilot training in the Philippines “in order to try to hijack a commercial flight and crash it into a building in the United States.”
“This reminder of the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001 is also a reminder that terrorist groups such as Al Shabaab remain committed to killing American citizens and attacking in the United States,” he argued.
Likewise, the Deputy Attorney General for National Security, John Demers, has stated that “this case, which involves a plot to use an airplane to kill innocent victims, recalls the deadly threat that radical Islamist terrorists continue to pose to our nation“.
“It also underscores our commitment to prosecute and hold to account anyone who seeks to harm our country and our citizens. No matter where the terrorists who plan to attack Americans are located, we will seek to identify them and bring them to justice,” he added.
In this sense, the FBI’s Deputy Director for Counterterrorism, Jill Sanborn, has pointed out that the announcement of the Department of Justice “shows that foreign terrorist organizations like Al Shabaab remain determined to plan and conspire to commit terrorist acts around the world against the United States, its interests and its foreign partners. ”
“There must be no doubt that the FBI and our colleagues in the security agencies, and specifically in this case those in the Philippines and Kenya, will not stop in our mission to hold terrorists accountable for their actions,” he stressed. .
“The FBI, along with the United States Government and our international partners, we will follow the fight against terrorism to the letter and we will not allow the safety of the population to be threatened, no matter where in the world or who is responsible, “Sanborn argued.
The FBI Deputy Director, William Sweeney, has expressed himself along the same lines, who has emphasized that “nearly 20 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there are those who remain determined to carry out terrorist attacks against the citizens of the United States. “. “Abdullah, we maintain, is one of them,” he has settled.
Al Shabaab – linked to the terrorist organization Al Qaeda- has increased its attacks in recent months both in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, as in other areas of the country, especially in the south. The United States has carried out dozens of bombings against the group.
In this sense, the commander of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), Stephen Townsend, stated in a document published in mid-February by the Pentagon that, of all the armed extremist groups on the continent, “Al Shabaab is the most dangerous for American interests today. ”
AFRICOM underlined in that document that, While the Somali Army has achieved “limited success” against the jihadist group, it has failed to seize control of any locality or zone to Al Shabaab without international support, either from the United States or from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
The United States maintains that Al Shabaab continues to work to expel foreigners from the country and establish a caliphate and highlights that, while the group remains faithful to the ideological guidance of Al Qaeda, it has financial independence.