U.S. charges two suspected accomplices of "Jihad Jane"

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 20, 2011 1:18 PM
U.S. charges two suspected accomplices of "Jihad Jane"

(Reuters) - U.S. law enforcement authorities in Pennsylvania announced on Thursday terrorism-related charges against two men for conspiring with others to receive military-style training in South Asia and plotting to wage holy war in Europe.

Ali Charaf Damache, 46, an Algerian residing in Ireland, and Mohammad Hassan Khalid, 18, a Pakistani U.S. resident, were charged with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

They were charged as part of the same conspiracy as two American women, Jamie Paulin Ramirez and Colleen LaRose, who both pleaded guilty to similar charges earlier this year in Philadelphia federal court.

LaRose, who used the Internet pseudonym "Jihad Jane," admitted in February to plotting to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks for depicting the Prophet Mohammad with the body of a dog.

Ramirez, a former resident of Colorado, married Damache in September 2009 upon arriving in Europe, the indictment said.

Damache, Khalid and others "devised and coordinated a violent-jihad organization 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," the indictment said.

Damache, who used the Internet username "Theblackflag," faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted. Khalid, who was arrested in July in Maryland and is in custody, faces a 15-year term.

Federal prosecutors said the United States would ask Ireland to extradite Damache so he could face charges.

U.S. District Judge Petrese Tucker is overseeing the case.

(Reporting by Basil Katz; editing by Philip Barbara)