- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 19, 2019

A Miami American Airlines mechanic who reportedly sabotaged a commercial jet in July might have ties to the Islamic State, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Medetis said Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Iraq, had ISIS iconography on his phone showing people being shot.

He also allegedly said he wanted non-Muslims to be harmed by Allah, prosecutors say.

Prosecutors also said two witnesses recounted Mr. Alani telling them he was going to Iraq to visit his brother, but gave conflicting accounts about the brother’s ISIS involvement.

A coworker said Mr. Alani said his brother was a part of the Islamic State, while his roommate said his brother had been captured by the Islamic State. Neither the phone nor prosecutors provided evidence of a kidnapped brother or any brother in ISIS.

A judge ruled Mr. Alani should be held without bond as his Iraqi brother makes him a flight risk.

While he hasn’t been given a terrorism-related charge, Mr. Alani was charged in September for willfully damaging, destroyng, disabling or wrecking an “air data module” on an American Airlines flight.

Court documents accuse Mr. Alani of taking foam and supergluing it to a system monitoring speed and other data, leading to an error in the plane’s system and forcing the pilots to cancel a flight from Miami to the Bahamas. The affidavit says he tampered with the system to receive overtime pay.

Mr. Alani’s public defender said he knew his sabotage would lead to the flight’s cancellation, and even if it hadn’t, other safety features would have kept the plane in the air.

“We don’t think they are going to be able to prove he intentionally put people in danger,” attorney Christian Dunham said, according to NBC News. “The plane would have been fine to fly.”

Mr. Alani is expected to enter in a plea on Friday.

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