New York Man Pleads Guilty In Assisting al Qaeda

Brooklyn, New York-born Wesam El Hanafi, 37, plead guilty on Monday to one count of providing material support a terrorist group and one county of conspiracy.

El-Hanafi said in court that he provided the materials to the terrorist group al Qaeda.

For agreeing to plead guilty Manhattan federal prosecutors offers a plea agreement that will place El-Hanafi behind bars for 20-years.

El-Hanafi told U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood:

“In July 2009 I participated in a conversation with others in which we discussed seeking out additional contacts within al Qaeda.”

The suspected terrorist was arrested in April 2010 along with dual U.S. and Australian citizen Sabirhan Hasanoff. The two men were arrested overseas and extradited to the United States to face charges.

According to prosecutors El-Hanafi purchased seven digital Casio watches through which they then sent to militants in Yemen. The alarms in the watches were to be used as bomb triggers.

In 2008 El-Hanafi alleged traveled to Yemen to meet with al Qaeda leadership. During that trip senior members of al Qaeda met with the suspected terrorist at which time he pledged his allegiance.

Leading up to his arrested El-Hanafi had been placed on the U.S. “no-fly list” and was arrested in February 2010 after he contacted U.S. authorities in the United Arab Emirates to determine why he had been banned from flying.

El-Hanafi will not be sentenced until October, the delay was caused because of a blood clot in his leg which has hindered his health and made it difficult to attend court proceedings.