NEW YORK – A suspected Al Qaeda member in custody in Germany has been indicted in New York on charges he helped the terrorism network plot bombing attacks.
The indictment against Abdeladim El-Kebir was unsealed Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn and charges him with conspiring with others to provide material support to Al Qaeda. It also charges him with plotting to use a destructive device.
El-Kebir, of Morocco, was arrested in April with two other men in Germany. Authorities there said they were making a bomb on order from Al Qaeda.
It wasn't immediately clear why El-Kebir was indicted in New York, though many terror investigations are handled in the federal court there.
At the time he was taken into custody, German officials said the then-29-year-old El-Kebir and two or three other suspects were working on making a shrapnel-laden bomb in Germany to attack a crowded place such as a bus in spring or summer 2011.
A written exchange with high-ranking Al Qaeda member Sheikh Yunis al Mauritania that was found at his home also indicated that he belonged to a group that American security officials last year warned may be plotting attacks in Europe, a German official told the AP in May, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.
The German official suggested that the letter contained some indication that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been kept abreast of the plot to attack Europe in fall 2010.
On the day of El-Kebir's arrest, German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich released a statement saying the suspects had been under surveillance since November 2010.
After his arrest, German intelligence officials said el-Kebir received the assignment to carry out a bombing from a high-ranking Al Qaeda member early last year. They said El-Kebir left Germany in early 2010, trained in an Al Qaeda camp in Waziristan near the Afghan-Pakistan border and returned last year to carry out the attack. He had at one time resided in Germany on a student visa but later returned illegally after abandoning his studies.