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Iraqi men living in Kentucky go to prison for plot to help al Qaeda

From Carol Cratty, CNN
January 30, 2013 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • One man got a life sentence
  • The other man is sentenced to 40 years
  • The men tried to send weapons to al Qaeda

(CNN) -- Two Iraqi men, who were living in Kentucky, were slapped with long prison sentences this week after being convicted of a series of charges involving a plot to help al Qaeda.

"These two former Iraqi insurgents participated in terrorist activities overseas and attempted to continue providing material support to terrorists while they lived here in the United States," said Assistant Attorney General for National Security Lisa Monaco. "Both men are being held accountable."

Mohanad Shareef Hammadi and Waad Ramadan Alwan were arrested last August in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in a terror-related sting operation.

Mohanad Shareef Hammadi
Mohanad Shareef Hammadi
Waad Ramadan Alwan
Waad Ramadan Alwan

After arriving in the United States, the men were monitored by federal authorities. The men told an FBI undercover agent they wanted to provide weapons and explosives to al Qaeda in Iraq, court documents said.

In 2010 and early 2011, Hammadi and Alwan provided sniper rifles, C4 plastic explosives, and two Stinger missiles to a truck they believed would be shipped to al Qaeda in Iraq. Authorities say none of the weapons were ever shipped and remained under control of the FBI.

Hammadi pleaded guilty in August to 12 counts, including four counts of aiding al Qaeda in Iraq, authorities said. Alwan pleaded guilty to 23 counts in December, including plotting to kill Americans overseas, the Justice Department said.

Alwan, 31, was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison. Hammadi, 25, got a life sentence, the Justice Department said.

"These are experienced terrorists who willingly and enthusiastically participated in what they believed were insurgent support operations designed to harm American soldiers in Iraq," stated U.S. Attorney David Hale. "Bringing these men to justice is the result of a comprehensive law enforcement effort."

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