A New York man accused of trying to join the U.S. military with the intent of attacking U.S. troops in Iraq did not enter a plea as he faced a U.S. judge in New York Tuesday.
Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, 21, a U.S. citizen, was arrested on Oct. 22 in Hawaii and transferred to the U.S. District court in Brooklyn, where he is charged with making materially false statements in a matter involving international terrorism. He faces eight years in prison.
In a brief hearing, U.S. District Judge Ramon Reyes arraigned Shehadeh and ordered him held without bail. Shehadeh, who had shoulder-length hair and wore grey track pants, spoke only once, to answer "yes" to a judge's question.
A criminal complaint said law enforcement officials had trailed Shehadeh closely and interviewed him repeatedly over the last two years.
New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters last week Shehadeh was "a homegrown individual who wants to do us harm."
Court documents said Shehadeh told a witness that "joining the military was an easier way to join jihad (holy war) because the military would provide him with training, transportation and a weapon," the complaint said.
Military recruiters ultimately rejected his application because they found he had lied about his travel history, the complaint said.
Shehadeh, who lived in the New York borough of Staten Island, tried to join militants in Pakistan and Somalia but was denied entry. He was eventually placed on a "no fly" list, the complaint said.
When authorities questioned him about his travel attempts, the complaint said, he lied about his intentions, telling them he intended to study Islam in Pakistan, not receive military training.
Shehadeh also created radical websites, "which advocated violent jihad against the West," and sought to contact members of al-Qaida, the complaint said.
One of his websites linked to blogs and speeches by radical American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, believed to be in hiding in Yemen. Shehadeh told U.S. authorities that he sent several unanswered e-mails to al-Awlaki.
Shehadeh's attorney Jeffrey Pittell declined to comment.
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