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Yemen postpones trial of alleged American al Qaeda member

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Sharif Mobley is charged in connection with a hospital shootout
  • The suspect worked for six years at various nuclear power plants
  • Comments he made should have raised suspicions, a report says

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- A Yemeni court Sunday postponed the hearing of an alleged al Qaeda member from America who had worked at several U.S. nuclear power plants.

The court's ruling to adjourn came after the prosecution failed to provide a translator for suspected al Qaeda member Sharif Mobely. The hearing is set to reconvene in a week.

Yemeni authorities arrested Mobley in a raid on al Qaeda in March 2010. A week later, he allegedly shot two guards, one fatally, during an escape attempt from a hospital in the capital, Sanaa. Yemeni authorities have charged Mobley in the shootings.

Mobley worked for six years at nuclear power plants in the Northeast, mainly the Salem/Hope Creek plant in New Jersey, according to a report by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Mobley had unescorted access to the sites where he worked in the U.S. and his behavior should have raised suspicions, the NRC report said.

He expressed the view that Islam is the only true faith and that all non-Muslims are infidels, the report said.

While working at one nuclear plant Mobley reportedly said, "We are brothers in the union but if holy war comes, look out." He was observed "with unusual Web sites on his personal computer, including one with a picture of a mushroom cloud," according to the regulatory commission's report.

Mobley's attorney, Cori Crider, said he had been a welder and carried out menial work at the nuclear plants and rejected any suggestion that he had terrorist intent while there.

"I really don't know how to dignify that with a response; it's just false," she said earlier this month. "The idea that he had any nuclear secrets and that he would have sold them to al Qaeda is totally false."

Senior U.S. security officials have told CNN that Mobley left his home in New Jersey to seek out American-born radical Islamist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. The officials said that Mobley made contact with al-Awlaki and was eager to meet up with him eventually in the belief that al-Awlaki could become his al Qaeda mentor.

CNN's Tim Lister contributed to this report.