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 15, 2014 -- Updated 0128 GMT (0928 HKT)
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this baffling disappearance.
March 14, 2014 -- Updated 1146 GMT (1946 HKT)
The two pilots who were flying Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 may lead to a few clues in the investigation.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1534 GMT (2334 HKT)
As investigators search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, analysts try to figure out why the high-tech plane's transponders were disabled.
Track star Oscar Pistorius is accused of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Follow live updates of South Africa's trial of the century.
March 14, 2014 -- Updated 0958 GMT (1758 HKT)
A CNN team joins international observers trying to get into Crimea from Ukraine -- here's what they saw.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1224 GMT (2024 HKT)
Watch how Pope Francis is redefining the papacy and breathing new life into the Catholic Church.
March 14, 2014 -- Updated 1629 GMT (0029 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1545 GMT (2345 HKT)
Michael Oren: He says the question is whether a truce can prevent conflict from becoming conflagration.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster changed global attitudes towards nuclear power. Explore our interactive to find out how.
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 2029 GMT (0429 HKT)
You -- the person now reading this story -- can help experts solve the mystery of what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1051 GMT (1851 HKT)
Scientists around the world are investigating whether living cells can be used to print replacement organs and tissues.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
There are two Web clips featuring Beyonce that have been getting a lot of attention.
Today's five most popular stories