Saudi native charged in New York with fighting for al Qaeda
March 20, 2013 -- Updated 2105 GMT (0505 HKT)
- Six-count indictment unveiled by federal prosecutors
- Saudi native accused of targeting Americans overseas
- Hearing set for Friday
(CNN) -- A Saudi native described by a federal law enforcement official as a "hardened" al Qaeda terrorist who targeted Americans in Afghanistan and North Africa is being held in New York, authorities revealed Wednesday.
The official spoke on background to CNN.
Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun, known better to authorities by his nickname ''Spin Ghul," will be taken to federal court in Brooklyn on Friday afternoon for a status hearing on a series of charges.
Harun has been secretly held in custody in New York since he was extradited to the U.S. from Italy and arraigned in October 2012.
New al Qaeda document sheds light on Europe, U.S. attack plans
Officials on Wednesday unsealed a six-count indictment that was handed down last month by a federal grand jury.
In the indictment, the defendant is charged with conspiring to murder U.S. nationals, conspiring to bomb U.S. government facilities, conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda and a number of firearms and explosives charges. If convicted on all charges, Harun faces a possible life sentence.
"The defendant was a prototype al Qaeda operative, trained by al-Qaeda in terrorist tradecraft, deployed to fight American servicemen and dispatched to commit terrorist attacks throughout the world," said U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch in Brooklyn.
A statement by the Justice Department says despite his Saudi birth, Harun claims to be a citizen of Niger.
Report: Al Qaeda kills French hostage held in Mali
Officials say he fought in Afghanistan for al Qaeda from shortly before the 9/11 attacks until he was dispatched to Africa. Harun allegedly plotted to attack the U.S. embassy in Nigeria, but was unable to carry out the mission.
In early 2005, Harun was arrested in Libya and held there until June 2011, when he was released.
However, aboard a refugee ship from Libya to Italy, a Justice official says Harun got into an altercation with Italian guards, and remained in Italian custody until he was turned over to U.S. agents, who within hours whisked him to New York.
CNN's Carol Cratty and Ross Levitt contributed to this story.
Part of complete coverage on
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 0925 GMT (1725 HKT)
Until clearer information comes to light, here's a summary of what we know, and what we don't.
March 11, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Turns out it's not as hard as you think to board a plane with a stolen passport.
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 0300 GMT (1100 HKT)
Aaron Miller says even those with little knowledge of Ukraine should spot the myths we've heard.
Track star Oscar Pistorius is accused of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Follow live updates of South Africa's trial of the century.
March 11, 2014 -- Updated 1611 GMT (0011 HKT)
CNN reveals it's not just trade in which Russian interests are strongly represented -- it's in some of the most lavish assets around the world.
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 0356 GMT (1156 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
What we commonly call the Web is really just the surface. Beneath that is a vast, mostly uncharted ocean called the Deep Web.
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 2359 GMT (0759 HKT)
On March 1, football's lawmakers, the International Football Association Board, met to debate the idea of a "sin-bin."
March 11, 2014 -- Updated 1756 GMT (0156 HKT)
"Don't ask me about her again," Justin Bieber tells lawyer after question on Selena Gomez.
March 11, 2014 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
It seems architects are increasingly drawn to buildings you can see straight through.
March 11, 2014 -- Updated 1758 GMT (0158 HKT)
In the early 1960s, a young postdoctoral student stumbled onto something that puzzled him.
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 1923 GMT (0323 HKT)
Was it a bomb? Mechanical failure? A hijacking gone awry? Pilot error? Here are four scenarios that aviation experts are discussing.
Today's five most popular stories