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.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0242 GMT (1042 HKT)
Successful launch of lunar orbiter, seen as a precursor for a planned mission to the surface of the moon, marks significant advance for the country's space program.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1915 GMT (0315 HKT)
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot while standing guard at Ottawa's National War Memorial, was known for his easygoing manner and smile.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 2006 GMT (0406 HKT)
Non-stop chatter about actress' appearance is nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 2208 GMT (0608 HKT)
CEO's 30-min Putonghua chat is the perfect charm offensive for Facebook's last untapped market.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0345 GMT (1145 HKT)
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 2058 GMT (0458 HKT)
Air New Zealand's new 'Hobbit' safety video stars Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, elves and orcs.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1414 GMT (2214 HKT)
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0333 GMT (1133 HKT)
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 1748 GMT (0148 HKT)
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0959 GMT (1759 HKT)
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1021 GMT (1821 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.