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An American Airlines mechanic who is facing charges for sabotaging an airplane in Miama by gluing a piece of styrofoam inside the plane’s nose, blocking out a piece that gave crucial flight data has now been revealed to have ties to ISIS, according to prosecutors.
Allegedly, after his arrest, Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani shared violent videos of ISIS from his cell phone and told agents he has an “evil side,” as well as that his brother is a member of the Islamist terrorist group.
Take a look at this breaking update in the case that hit Twitter:
Fox News has more to say about the new details:
An American Airlines mechanic accused of sabotaging a plane in July reportedly told arresting agents he had an “evil side,” a nefarious persona prosecutors sought to expose Wednesday as they presented alleged evidence of his Islamist sympathies -- and aspirations -- at a bail hearing in Miami.
Prosecutors said Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani allegedly displayed support for ISIS by making statements about wishing Allah would use "divine powers" to harm non-Muslims and sharing ISIS videos on his cellphone -- which he allowed the FBI to search. One of the videos showed a person being shot in the head, according to prosecutors.
Federal investigators said they also learned that Alani lied about taking a trip to Iraq in March to visit his brother and also sent $700 to someone in Iraq. Alani allegedly told an American Airlines co-worker in June his brother was kidnapped and became a member of the terrorist organization.
Alani, 60, worked as a mechanic for the airline when he allegedly sabotaged a Nassau-bound Boeing 737 with 150 passengers and crew aboard at Miami International Airport over stalled labor negotiations.
The Miami Herald gave more details:
An American Airlines mechanic appeared in federal court Friday on a sabotage charge accusing him of disabling a navigation system on a flight with 150 people aboard before it was scheduled to take off from Miami International Airport earlier this summer.
The reason, according to a criminal complaint filed in Miami federal court: Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, a veteran employee, was upset over stalled union contract negotiations.
None of the passengers and crew on the flight to Nassau were injured because his tampering with the so-called air data module caused an error alert as the pilots powered up the plane’s engines on the runway July 17, according to the complaint affidavit.
As a result, flight No. 2834 was aborted and taken out of service for routine maintenance at American’s hangar at MIA, which is when the tampering with the ADM system was discovered during an inspection. An AA mechanic found a loosely connected tube in front of the nose gear underneath the cockpit that had been deliberately obstructed with some sort of hard foam material.
Alani, 60, of Tracy, California, near San Francisco, is charged with “willfully damaging, destroying or disabling an aircraft” and made his first appearance in Miami federal court on Friday. Alani, who was arrested Thursday morning by federal air marshals and FBI agents at MIA where he worked as an AA mechanic, will be held at a federal lock-up at least until his detention hearing next Wednesday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Medetis said her office will seek to detain Alani, who was appointed a federal public defender by Magistrate Judge John J. O’Sullivan after he found the mechanic was unable to pay for his own defense.
At Friday’s first appearance, Alani spoke halting English and the judge asked for an Arabic interpreter to translate. Alana, who is from Iraq but has lived in the United States for decades, told the judge that he was making $7,000 to $8,000 a month from his job as a mechanic for American Airlines. He said he owned a property in Sarasota and leased a couple of cars, a 2018 Honda and 2016 Camaro.
O’Sullivan asked Alani if he was still employed. He didn’t respond immediately.
Medetis, the prosecutor, then interjected: “It is our understanding that he is going to be suspended without pay.”
After the hearing, Assistant Federal Public Defender Anthony Natale declined to comment about the sabotage allegations in the criminal complaint.
“Obviously, we just got the paperwork,” said Natale, a veteran federal public defender who was involved in the high-profile terrorism trial of Jose Padilla in Miami more than a decade ago. “That’s all I can say.”
For now, Alanis is being held on a criminal complaint but is expected to be indicted soon on a sabotage-related charge by a federal grand jury. His arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 20.
According to the complaint affidavit, Alani glued the foam inside the tube leading from outside the American Airlines plane to its air data module, a system that reports aircraft speed, pitch and other critical flight data. As a result, if the plane had taken off that day from MIA, the pilots would have had to operate the aircraft manually because the ADM system would not have received any computer data.
The New York Times also said:
A federal judge denied bail on Wednesday to a former American Airlines mechanic who is accused of sabotaging a plane carrying 150 people in Miami in July, saying the mechanic may be “sympathetic to terrorists.”
The mechanic, Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, 60, admitted to federal agents that he tampered with the Boeing 737-800 at Miami International Airport on July 17, forcing the plane to be grounded before takeoff, according to court records. He said he was upset about an impasse over a union contract and wanted the flight to be delayed or canceled so he could get overtime work.
He was arrested on Sept. 5 and charged with willfully damaging, destroying or disabling an aircraft and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
At a bail hearing Wednesday, prosecutors argued that Mr. Alani, of Tracy, Calif., had videos on his cellphone that showed mass murders committed by the Islamic State, The Associated Press reported. Prosecutors also noted that Mr. Alani had said that he wished that Allah would harm non-Muslims and that he has a brother who lives in Iraq who may be involved with ISIS.
“You may be very sympathetic to terrorists,” United States Magistrate Judge Chris M. McAliley said at the hearing, according to The A.P. “That’s very disconcerting.”
Mr. Alani has not been charged with any terror-related crimes. Federal prosecutors did not answer questions about the case on Wednesday evening.
A lawyer for Mr. Alani, Christian S. Dunham, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday evening.
Mr. Dunham said in court that prosecutors would not be able to prove that Mr. Alani, an experienced mechanic, intentionally put people on the plane in danger, according to The A.P.