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2 Yemeni Nationals Charged in U.S. Over Al Qaeda Attacks in Afghanistan

Saddiq al-Abbadi and Ali Alvi were scheduled to appear in a New York City court this week on charges of conspiring to kill Americans abroad.

U.S. prosecutors have charged two Yemeni nationals with being members of al Qaeda who attacked American forces in Afghanistan. Saddiq al-Abbadi, 36, and Ali Alvi, 30, have been brought to Brooklyn, New York, for court appearances. The U.S. government says that in 2008 the pair traveled to the tribal areas of Pakistan to train and fight with al Qaeda. They then went to Afghanistan to conduct attacks on U.S. military personnel, prosecutors claim.

"Al-Abbadi led a battle against U.S. forces in Paktya Province in May 2008 during which one U.S. Army Ranger was killed and several others were seriously wounded," prosecutors said. The Justice Department says Alvi had his first court appearance Sunday and al-Abbadi's initial appearance is scheduled for Tuesday. Prosecutors say Alvi has admitted joining al Qaeda and fighting against US forces.

In a criminal complaint filed in 2009 and unsealed Tuesday, the FBI says al-Abbadi fought against the U.S. military in Iraq between 2003 and 2007. It says the two men then went to Pakistan to train and fight with al Qaeda.

The government says a key source is a confidential cooperating witness who has pleaded guilty to training with al Qaeda in Pakistan in 2007 and taking part in a rocket attack against the U.S. military. Information provided by the witness, the government says, "has proven reliable and accurate in the past."

In a separate court filing, prosecutors say the witness is Bryant Neal Vinas, a Long Island man who pleaded guilty in 2009 to fighting with al Qaeda in Afghanistan and helping to plot a bomb attack on the Long Island Railroad that was never carried out.


— Pete Williams