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Vietnamese immigrant charged with helping al-Qaida in Yemen

A Vietnamese immigrant has been charged in New York over an alleged role in helping al-Qaida in Yemen.

Minh Quang Pham was arrested in Britain. He is accused of traveling to Yemen to train with members of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. 

Pham is also accused of helping the group with its online propaganda efforts. Investigators said he was in Yemen from December 2010 through July 2011.

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Sources familiar with the case said he met with numerous leaders of AQAP in Yemen, including the terror group's then leader, Anwar al-Awlaki, and Samir Khan, editor of its English-language magazine "Inspire," and took a loyalty oath. Both Americans-turned-terror leaders were killed in a drone strike last September.

"The defendant not only pledged an oath to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, and received military training from AQAP, he also helped design and disseminate its propaganda,"New York FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk said.

Security officials have said AQAP has become the leading overseas terror threat to the U.S. 

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Two underwear bomb plots, including one that targeted a Detroit-bound jetliner, as well as a plot to bomb cargo planes in 2010, originated in Yemen.

As for Pham, the court papers said he played a role in creating online propaganda for AQAP. He is charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. 

Jonathan Dienst is WNBC's chief investigative reporter. Shimon Prokupecz is WNBC's investigative producer.

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