Published: Fri, September 20, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

U.S. JIHADI TERROR: American Airlines Terror Mechanic 'has ISIS links'

U.S. JIHADI TERROR: American Airlines Terror Mechanic 'has ISIS links'

The 60 year-old Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani was found to have a brother affiliated with Islamic state, while also possessing IS-related propaganda on his smartphone device. But pilots on board the aircraft were forced to abort the take-off after the flight computer communicated an error message.

Authorities say that Alani tampered with an "air data module" on a flight from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas, with 150 people on board.

Alani is said to have told federal air marshals he had only wanted to "cause a delay or have the flight cancelled in anticipation of obtaining overtime work".

Prosecutors revealed at the Wednesday bail hearing that Alani had videos on his phone depicting mass murders committed by ISIS, that Alani's brother lives in Iraq and may be involved with ISIS, and that Alani has, in the past, expressed a desire for Allah to harm non-Muslims.

She said it raised the possibility that his actions to damage the plane had had a deadly objective.

He was charged with willfully damaging or disabling an aircraft, but no terrorism charges have been filed.

Alani initially said that he sabotaged the Boeing 737 at Miami International Airport because labor negotiations were hurting his chances to snare overtime. The man, later identified as Alani, then got out of the vehicle and was seen accessing an area of the plane where its ADM is located.

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Two witnesses gave differing accounts about Mr Alani's brother - one colleague said Mr Alani had travelled to Iraq to meet his brother, who was an IS member, but his roommate said Mr Alani had travelled there because his brother had been kidnapped. The footage showed Alani, who walks with a limp, accessing the aircraft's compartment where the navigation system was located in the plane, according to the affidavit, which was filed by the US attorney's office.

"He further admitted that he inserted a piece of foam into the ADM's (aircraft's) inlet where the connects and that he applied [Super Glue] to the foam so as to prevent the foam from coming off", court documents say.

When Alani was arrested, he reportedly told investigators his efforts were part of this slowdown, and the arrest - coming days before the 18th anniversary of the September 11 attack by jihadist terrorists - was reported in the press as a labor dispute.

Alani attorney Christian Dunham, a federal public defender, said as an experienced mechanic Alani knew the sabotage would keep the aircraft from flying and, even if it did take off, there are redundancies built in that would have kept it safe. "I think it is likely you will be convicted".

Dunham asked for Alani's release on $200,000 bail, secured by family members - many of whom live in the San Francisco area - as well as former co-workers at American Airlines in Miami.

The request was in the end denied after McAliley cited Alani's skill to journey overseas and proof that factors to his guilt.

Alani, the federal charges said, spent about seven minutes doing the sabotage.

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