Pak-born US teenager pleads guilty in terror case

Washington: A Pakistan-born US teenager today pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and offering assistance to a woman called "Jihad Jane" who was planning to wage a jihad in Europe.

A resident of Maryland, 18-year-old Mohammad Hassan Khalid, aka Abdul Ba`aree Abd Al-Rahman Al-Hassan Al-Afghani Al-Junoobi Wat-Emiratee, was charged with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists in a superseding indictment returned on October 20.

Khalid faces a potential sentence of 15 years in prison and a USD 250,000 fine at sentencing. His co-defendant, Ali Charaf Damache, aka Theblackflag, 46, an Algerian who resided in Ireland, was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and attempted identity theft to facilitate an act of international terrorism.

Damache is in custody in Ireland and is being prosecuted there on an unrelated criminal charge. Khalid had secured a full scholarship to the prestigious Johns Hopkins University before he was arrested last summer by the FBI and put in federal custody at 17.

Prosecutors stated in the US District court in Philadelphia that Khalid was only 15 years old when he began swapping messages with Colleen LaRose alias Jihad Jane, a Pennsylvania woman who pleaded guilty to planning a European jihad and for conspiring to murder a Swedish cartoonist.

According to the plea memorandum, indictment and other court documents filed in the case, from about 2008 through July 2011, Khalid and Damache conspired with LaRose, Jamie Paulin Ramirez and others to provide material support and resources, including logistical support, recruitment services, financial support, identification documents and personnel, to a conspiracy to wage a jihad in Europe.

Ramirez pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in March 2011 to conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

According to the Department of Justice, Khalid, Damache and others devised and coordinated a violent jihad group consisting of men and women from Europe and the United States divided into a planning team, a research team, an action team, a recruitment team and a finance team; some of whom would travel to South Asia for explosives training and return to Europe to wage violent jihad.

As part of the conspiracy, Khalid, Damache, LaRose and others recruited men online to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe. In addition, Khalid, Damache, LaRose and others allegedly recruited women who had passports and the ability to travel to and around Europe in support of violent jihad.

LaRose, Paulin-Ramirez and others traveled to and around Europe to participate in and support violent jihad. In addition, Khalid, LaRose and others also solicited funds online for terrorists, the Justice Department said.

For example, in July 2009, Khalid posted or caused to be posted an online solicitation for funds to support terrorism on behalf of LaRose and later sent electronic communications to multiple online forums requesting the deletion of all posts by LaRose after she was questioned by the FBI.

In August 2009, Khalid sent a questionnaire to LaRose in which he asked another potential female recruit about her beliefs and intentions with regard to violent jihad. In addition, Khalid received from LaRose and concealed the location of a US passport that she had stolen from another individual.