Chicago Cousins Sentenced in Terrorism Case
Updated: July 13, 2010
Posted: January 26, 2009
Two Chicago cousins have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms for traveling abroad in an attempt to murder U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On July 12, 2010, Zubair Ahmed, 29, and his cousin, Khaleel Ahmed, 28, were sentenced to 10 years and eight years and four months in prison, respectively. The Ahmed cousins pleaded guilty in the Northern District of Ohio on January 15, 2009, to one count of conspiracy to provide material support or resources to terrorists. As part of the conspiracy, the men made preparations to travel overseas with the intent of murdering or maiming American military forces. At that time, Zubair Ahmed said during his sentencing, I was looking at U.S. troops as my enemy.
The men, who were arrested in February 2007, have ties to three Toledo, Ohio, men who were arrested and charged in the same plot but tried separately. All three Toledo men Mohammad Zaki Amawi, 28, Marwan Othman El-Hindi, 45, and Wassim I. Mazloum, 26 were convicted of conspiracy to plan attacks to kill or injure U.S. troops in Iraq and other countries and to providing material support to terrorists in June 2008 in U.S. District Court in Toledo. Amawi and El-Hindi were also found guilty on two counts of distributing information regarding explosives.
In July 2004, El-Hindi introduced the Ahmed cousins to an informant in Cleveland, described in court documents as "the trainer." During this meeting, the cousins allegedly discussed sniper tactics and surveillance techniques, and said they were willing to travel abroad to carry out terror attacks.
After that meeting, the Ahmed cousins continued to seek training from the undercover agent, asking him in October and December 2004 to come to Chicago to train them further.
Before any training had been offered to them, the Ahmed cousins traveled to Egypt in May 2004, allegedly with the intention of continuing on to Afghanistan "in order to engage in acts that would result in the murder or maiming of U.S. military forces." Court documents reveal that, during secretly recorded conversations between El-Hindi and the undercover informant, El-Hindi said that he had saved the Ahmed cousins lives by stopping them from traveling to Afghanistan because they had not been properly trained yet.
During his time in Egypt, Zubair Ahmed's family filed a missing persons report, which expressed concern about his intentions of getting involved in the Iraq war, according to court documents.
In addition to seeking training, the Ahmed cousins researched manuals on military tactics and weaponry and distributed videos of attacks on U.S. military forces overseas
The Ahmed cousins also communicated online and in person with Syed Haris Ahmed, who was arrested in March 2006 and convicted three years later of providing material support to terrorists. The men met in a Web forum and discussed ways of training so they could "go to jihad," according to an FBI interview with Syed Haris Ahmed.
Syed Haris Ahmed, a former engineering student at Georgia Tech University, and co-defendant Ehsanul Islam Sadequee allegedly took casing videos of several locations in Washington, D.C., including the U.S. Capitol, the World Bank Headquarters, a Masonic Temple and a group of large fuel storage tanks. They sent these videos to Younis Tsouli (a.k.a. Irhabi007), who has since been sentenced in London to 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to inciting people to commit murder through Web sites, and to Aabid Hussain Khan, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for distributing terrorist related materials online to a network of contacts in the United States, Europe and Canada.