Somali Man Indicted for Ohio Mall Bombing Plot
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 14, 2004 A Somali immigrant was indicted today by an Ohio federal court for suspicion of planning to blow up a Columbus shopping center, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft announced.
A federal grand jury indicted Nuradin M. Abdi, 32, for "conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda, and two counts of fraud and misuse of documents," Ashcroft told reporters at a news conference.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Ashcroft noted, has detained Abdi since Nov. 28, when the Somali was arrested on immigration charges. The accused, the attorney general emphasized, "is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty."
Ashcroft said the indictment alleges that Abdi secured a travel document from U.S. officials under false pretenses in April 1999 and later traveled to Ethiopia to attend a terrorist training camp.
Abdi returned to the United States in March 2000, Ashcroft said. At that time, the attorney general continued, Iyman Faris, a naturalized U.S. citizen and convicted al Qaeda operative now serving a 20-year prison sentence for supporting terrorism, picked up Abdi at the Columbus airport.
"It is alleged that Abdi, along with admitted al Qaeda operative Faris and other co-conspirators, initiated a plot to blow up a Columbus area shopping mall," Ashcroft explained. It's also alleged, he said, that Abdi received bomb- making instructions from one of the co-conspirators.
Current intelligence indicates that terrorists "want to hit the United States hard," Ashcroft noted.
"We know our enemies will go to great lengths to lie in wait to achieve the death and destruction they desire," he concluded.