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Imam from Trinidad convicted of planning attack on JFK airport

From Julia Talanova, CNN
  • Imam Kareem Ibrahim was convicted of planning to blow up JFK airport
  • Ibrahim now faces the possibility of life in prison
  • He was arrested in 2007; two co-defendants already received life sentences

New York (CNN) -- Trinidad native Kareem Ibrahim was convicted Thursday of conspiring to detonate fuel tanks and a fuel pipeline at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to a statement from the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York.

Ibrahim was one of three men arrested in the 2007 plot, after a government informant infiltrated the group and taped its conversations, and he now faces the possibility of life behind bars.

Co-conspirators Abdul Kadir and Russell Defreitas earlier received life sentences in the plot.

The leader of the Shiite Muslim community in Trinidad and Tobago, Ibrahim provided religious and operational support to the men plotting the attack, according to prosecutors.

In one recorded conversation he advised that the men must be ready to "fight it out, kill who you could kill and go back to Allah."

Defreitas, who authorities say was the mastermind behind the plan, had extensive knowledge of the JFK Airport where he worked as a cargo handler and in 2006 recruited Ibrahim, Kadir and Abdel Nur to join him in the plot

According to the statement from U.S. Eastern District Court of New York, Ibrahim "believed the attack would cause extensive damage to the airport and to the United States economy, as well as the loss of innocent lives."

The specific charges Ibrahim was convicted of were conspiracy to attack a public transportation system, conspiracy to destroy a building by fire or explosive, conspiracy to attack aircraft and aircraft materials, conspiracy to destroy international airport facilities and conspiracy to attack a mass transportation facility, the statement said.

Last August, Defreitas and Kadir were convicted by a federal jury in New York. Defreitas was found guilty on all six counts against him: conspiring to attack a public transportation system, to destroy a building or other real property by fire or explosive, to attack aircraft and aircraft materials, to destroy or damage international airport facilities and to attack a mass transportation facility, and surveillance of a mass transportation facility.

Kadir was found guilty on five of the counts, but not guilty on the count of surveillance of mass transportation facility.

In response to the decision in Ibrahim's case Thursday, U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement, "In pursuit of a radical terrorist agenda, bent on the destruction of John F. Kennedy Airport and the murder of innocent civilians, Imam Kareem Ibrahim abandoned the true tenets of his religion."

"We will continue to seek out and bring to justice all those who plot to attack the United States and its people," she added.

Nur pleaded guilty last June to providing material support to a terrorist conspiracy and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.