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N.Y. man admits he aided al Qaeda, set up jihad camp

Mohammed Babar agrees to cooperate with investigation

By Jonathan Wald
CNN

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- A New York man has admitted to smuggling money and military supplies to a senior member of al Qaeda in Pakistan, setting up a jihad training camp and assisting in a bombing plot in the United Kingdom.

Mohammed Junaid Babar, a naturalized American originally from Pakistan, pleaded guilty June 2 to five counts of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, as well as providing the support, according to a court transcript recently released.

Babar is being held without bail and faces up to 70 years in prison, but Federal Judge Victor Marrero indicated Babar will serve less jail time under a plea deal.

Babar has agreed to cooperate fully with any investigation or prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office and he may apply to the witness security program, which would relocate his family under a new identity.

Babar told Marrero he provided night-vision goggles, sleeping bags, waterproof socks, waterproof ponchos and money to a high-ranking al Qaeda official in South Waziristan, a Pakistani region near the Afghan border.

Babar said he delivered the supplies personally in January and February 2004 and someone else transported the items in the summer of 2003.

"I understood that the money and supplies that I had given to al Qaeda was supposed to be used in Afghanistan ... against U.S. or ... international forces or against the Northern Alliance," Babar said.

The Northern Alliance helped remove the Taliban from power in Afghanistan by joining forces with U.S. and British soldiers.

"I set up a jihad training camp," Babar told the court, "where those who wanted to go into Afghanistan where they could learn how to use weapons, and also, you know, any explosive devices that they wanted to test out over there."

Babar, 29, confessed he supplied people who attended the training camp with aluminum powder and attempted to buy ammonium nitrate for them "with the knowledge that it was going to be used for a plot somewhere in the U.K."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Baroni said in court that Babar's training camp lasted for three to four weeks in July 2003 and he was involved in planning a bomb plot in Britain from around December 2002 until about March 2004.

Baroni said prosecutors had witnesses, documents and other physical evidence to prove the case against Babar.

Babar, who grew up in the New York borough of Queens, was arrested after he returned from Pakistan in April.

One senior law enforcement source said Babar had been "on the radar screen" before he was taken into custody.

Babar is believed to have been associated with a group in London known as al Muhajiroun, which includes Pakistani terrorists, according to law enforcement sources.

Al Muhajiroun was under British surveillance and members of the group purchased nearly a ton of ammonium nitrate, a raw material used to make bombs, the source said.

British police foiled an apparent bomb plot March 30 when they arrested eight men and seized about 1,320 pounds (600 kg) of ammonium nitrate from a self-storage warehouse in west London.

Six of the men -- five of Pakistani descent -- were charged with conspiracy to cause explosions and possessing ammonium nitrate for possible use in terrorism.

Ammonium nitrate was a key ingredient in the bomb that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in 1995, killing 168 people, as well as a bomb that destroyed a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia, in 2002, killing more than 200.


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