- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 16, 2020

A Kenyan man who spent years training in the Philippines to conduct a 9/11-style attack against the United States now faces terror charges, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday.

Prosecutors say Cholo Abdi Abdullah, 30, went to a flight school in the Philippines so he could hijack a commercial airliner and also conducted internet searches for “the tallest building in a major U.S. city.”

Mr. Abdullah, who is allegedly part of the al-Shabaab terror unit, faces multiple criminal counts. He is charged with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, conspiracy to commit aircraft piracy and conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens.

“This chilling callback to the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001, is a stark reminder that terrorist groups like al-Shabaab remain committed to killing U.S. citizens and attacking the United States,” acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement.

Prosecutors say Mr. Abdullah attended the Philippines flight school from 2017 and 2019 and obtained training and completed the tests necessary to obtain his pilot’s license.

He also allegedly researched how to hijack a commercial airliner and breach a cockpit door and sought information about how to obtain a U.S. visa.

Mr. Abdullah has been in the custody of law enforcement in the Philippines since July 2019, according to court records. He is expected to arrive in New York Wednesday to face charges in the U.S.

The Justice Department said Mr. Abdullah was also involved in planning a 2019 Nairobi hotel attack carried out by al-Shabaab, which left more than 20 people dead.

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