Federal authorities on Sunday unsealed charges against two New Jersey men arrested the night before as they allegedly tried to join an Al Qaeda-linked group in war-torn Somalia and kill Americans there.
The men were inspired at least in part by Omar Hammami, the Alabama-born face of the Somalia-based terrorist group, and Anwar al-Awlaki, the New Mexico-born cleric now hiding in Yemen who has been linked to the Fort Hood shootings, the Christmas Day bombing attempt and the failed Times Square car bomb plot, according to federal prosecutors.
20-year-old Mohamed Mahmood Alessa of North Bergen, N.J., and 24-year-old Carlos Eduardo Almonte of Elmwood Park, N.J., have been charged with conspiring to kill or injure persons outside the United States.[…]
According to prosecutors, over the years Alessa and Almonte saved thousands of dollars, procured military gear and apparel for use overseas, and “physically conditioned” themselves, which included engaging in paintball and other tactical training. They also repeatedly watched and shared recordings promoting violent jihad, including lectures by al-Awlaki and online videos featuring Hammami, who is now known as “Abu Mansour al-Amriki,” prosecutors allege.
In late November 2009, Alessa was recorded as saying that if he and Almonte can’t kill targets overseas, then they’ll “start doing killing here” in the United States, according to court documents. He later said he would return to the “crap hole” of the United States if “the leader ordered me to come back here and do something,” court documents allege.