The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

December 11, 2012

2 Ala. men arrested on federal terrorism charges


Agents tracked the men's plans through an informant and the undercover FBI employee, according to the complaint. Wilson and Abukhdair planned to travel to Casablanca, Morocco, before going to Mauritania or another Muslim country to fight.

The agent's statement said Abukhdair once mentioned the possibility of a terrorist kidnapping, a bombing or a shootout with police inside the United States since he feared not being able to leave the country, but Wilson didn't like the idea.

Believing the FBI was on to their plans to wage jihad overseas and hoping to divert agents, Abukhdair and Wilson used $3,900 from a vehicle sale and more money from their father and stepfather to open a men's fragrance store in March, but it went out of business by July, the complaint said. The document didn't say where the store was located.

A mutual friend of Hammami and Wilson began helping investigators after being denied boarding on an international flight in June, said the complaint.

Both men are charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists with plans to kill people outside the United States. Abukhdair also is charged with passport fraud, accused of lying to obtain a new one since his old one contained immigration stamps from Egypt.

Hammami, the son of a Christian mother and an Islamic father, grew up near Mobile and attended college at the University of South Alabama, where he was president of the Muslim student association. The complaint said Wilson first met Hammami in 2002 and lived with him in Mobile for seven months ending in December 2004.

Wilson told an undercover FBI employee last year that the FBI "has eyes" on people in Mobile because of Hammami, the complaint said.

Officials believe Hammami is a now senior leader in the Somalia-based terror group al-Shabab, which has links to al-Qaida. Hammami faces federal charges in Alabama of providing material support to terrorists.


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