|Mohanad Shareef Hammadi|
A second Iraqi citizen living in the U.S. was convicted of trying to export weapons, including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, and money in a 2011 plot aimed at helping Al Qaeda fighters in Iraq.
Mohanad Shareef Hammadi pleaded guilty to all 12 federal terrorism charges t against him on Aug. 21 in a federal courtroom in Bowling Green, KY.
The charges against the 24-year-old Hammadi, included five counts of attempting to provide material support to terrorists and four counts of attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), one count of conspiracy to transfer, possess, and export Stinger missiles and with two counts of making false statements in immigration matters.
Hammadi and his co-defendant, Waad Ramadan Alwan, were caught up in a 2011 FBI sting operation. Government officials have said Alwan admitted he was directly involved in attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq using improvised explosive devices (IED) that killed U.S. soldiers there. The FBI has said his fingerprints were found on an IED in Iraq in 2005. Hammadi also admitted participating in attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq, including IED attacks.
Alwan, who recruited Hammadi in the illicit AQI aid plan, pleaded guilty last December to all 23-counts against him in the case. He was charged with conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals abroad; conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals abroad; distributing information on the manufacture and use of IEDs; attempting to provide material support to terrorists and to AQI; as well as conspiracy to transfer, possess, and export Stinger missiles.
Last June, Hammadi’s and Alwan’s arrests and trials briefly reignited arguments on the propriety of trying them on U.S. soil in the federal court system, instead of military tribunals in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (R) had argued that the men should be tried at Guantanamo Bay as foreign combatants, while U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder argued for trials in the U.S. federal court system.
Both men were been taken into custody in May, 2011, in Bowling Green, KY after being closely monitored by federal law enforcement authorities in the months leading up to their arrests, said the FBI. Neither was charged with plotting attacks within the U.S. and no weapons were shipped to Iraq.
Hammadi faces a maximum sentence of life in prison under the sentencing guidelines and a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison. He is slated for sentencing in December 5.
According to the charging documents, Hammadi entered the U.S. in July 2009 and, after first living in Las Vegas, moved to Bowling Green. Alwan entered the U.S. in April 2009 and lived in Bowling Green since his arrival.
According to court documents, the Bowling Green office of the FBI’s Louisville Division began investigating Alwan in 2010, using a confidential human source who told Alwan that he was working with a group to ship money and weapons to Mujahadeen in Iraq. The source met with Alwan and recorded their meetings and conversations beginning in August 2010. From September 2010 to January 2011, Alwan participated in deliveries of weapons and money that he believed were destined for terrorists in Iraq.
In January 2011, Alwan recruited Hammadi to help in his plan. Beginning in January 2011, and continuing until his arrest in late May 2011, Hammadi participated with Alwan in money and weapons deliveries that he believed were destined for terrorists in Iraq, including AQI, said court documents. Hammadi also told the government source about his prior activities as an insurgent in Iraq, including his participation in IED attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq.
After his arrest on May 25, 2011, Hammadi admitted to his participation in the weapons and cash support operations between January and May, 2011. Hammadi also admitted his involvement in insurgent activities while living in Iraq, including his membership in an insurgent group and his participation in various attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq.