An American Airlines mechanic who allegedly sabotaged an aircraft is now accused of having ties to the terrorist group Islamic State, or ISIS, Miami’s WPLG-TV reports.
Prosecutors said that in November, Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani — who was born in Iraq but who is a United States citizen — became aware of one of multiple Boeing 737 Max 8 crashes. As reported in June by The Inquisitr, the aircraft were found to have a fatal flaw in its internal software, which was responsible, in full or in part, for two fatal crashes in a period of months.
On July 17, a plane to which Alani had access was scheduled to take off from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas. However, before takeoff, the pilot noticed a problem with the craft’s air data module (ADM) system and aborted the flight. A later inspection found that a small tube within the system was connected more loosely than it should have been, said Jose Ruiz, a senior federal air marshal with the Transportation Security Administration.
“Further inspection revealed the ADM appeared to have been deliberately obstructed with what appeared to be a dark Styrofoam-type material,” Ruiz said.
Surveillance video showed a man, allegedly Alani, drive up to the aircraft, access the part of the plane where the ADM is kept, fidget with it for approximately seven minutes, then return to the truck and drive off.
Alani was later arrested.
Since that time, he’s allegedly provided authorities with at least two reasons why he tampered with the craft. In one instance, he reportedly said that he was angry over stalled contract negotiations. In another instance, it is believed that he told authorities that he didn’t want to cause harm to the aircraft or its occupants, but that he simply wanted to get some overtime.
However, new information in Alani’s case suggests that the mechanic may have had ties to ISIS, and indeed, may have had designs on carrying out a terrorist attack.
A co-worker of Alani’s testified that the suspect had once told him that he had a brother who was a member of ISIS and that he traveled to Iraq in March to visit him. Alani’s roommate, however, said that he had claimed that his brother had been kidnapped and that he had to go to Iraq to sort things out.
What Alani did or did not do in Iraq is unclear. Photos taken from his cell phone show Alani smiling with family members and not in any apparent distress. Furthermore, a propaganda video from ISIS showing gruesome murders was purportedly found on Alani’s phone.
Alani’s attorney noted, however, that he is not on any terrorist watch lists.