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US terror suspect pleads guilty to aiding al Qaeda

A New York native and terror suspect pleaded guilty [press release] Monday to charges of providing material support [18 USC § 2339B materials], including money and computer assistance, to al Qaeda [JURIST news archive]. Wesam El-Hanafi plead guilty before Judge Kimba Wood of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website]. El-Hanafi was charged [JURIST report] with supporting Al Qaeda in 2010 along with another US citizen, Sabirhan Hasanoff, who pleaded guilty on similar charges [Reuters report] earlier this month. El-Hanafi allegedly traveled to Yemen where we swore an oath of allegiance to al Qaeda and received assignments and instructions. Hasanoff allegedly carried out several assignments for al Qaeda in New York City. The court has not yet set a sentencing date.

Both defendants originally pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to the charges. The two men allegedly received at least $50,000 for providing al Qaeda with "computer advice and assistance, services, and currency," among other acts, between November 2007 and March 2010. El-Hanafi was arrested in the United Arab Emirates after contacting US authorities to determine why he was on a no-fly list.

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