NBC New York reports that two men in Brooklyn have been arrested for conspiring to help Al-Qaeda. Wesam El-Hanafi and Sabirhan Hasanoff worked for the terrorist organization between 2007 and March of this year, although officials told NBC that there is no evidence that they were plotting an attack on U.S. soil.
“They were wonderful people,” one neighbor told the authors of the report.
El-Hanafi is said to have helped Al-Qaeda supporters secure their computer communications and traveled to Yemen in February 2008 where he met with two members of the terrorist group to receive training. The federal indictment says that he pledged his allegiance to the terrorist group during this trip.
The Wall Street Journal reports that El-Hanafi recruited another individual in Brooklyn for the terrorist group in May of 2008. This co-conspirator provided Hasanoff with $50,000 in 2007, who then began working for Al-Qaeda in New York.
Last April, El-Hanafi bought seven watches of the kind used by the terrorist group to create timed explosives. He was arrested after being sent to the U.S. from the United Arab Emirates where he had moved to.
“This case’s nexus to New York City serves as another reminder that we remain vigilant to the possibility of supporters of Al Qaeda returning to New York,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly told the press.
Last month, another New Yorker pled guilty to charges of conspiring to support terrorists. Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari, who was arrested in February 2007, admitted that he engaged in fraud to try to fund the purchase of medical supplies and night-vision goggles for terrorist camps in Afghanistan. Alishtari was also an honored fundraiser for the Republican Party.