‘Disturbing’ ISIS Material Reportedly Found on the Phone of American Airlines Mechanic
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Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, a 60-year-old who had worked for the company for 31 years, was arrested Sept. 5 for disabling a navigation system on a flight bound for the Bahamas on July 17, the Miami Herald reported.
He allegedly glued a hard foam material inside a tube leading from outside the aircraft to its air data module, rendering the system unable to receive computer data.
The flight was aborted during takeoff after a pilot noticed the issue. None of the 150 people on board were injured.
Alani admitted to investigators that he was responsible for the sabotage but insists that he meant no harm. He claimed he was frustrated with stalled union contract negotiations and wanted the flight to be canceled so he could generate overtime for fixing the plane.
Magistrate Judge Chris McAliley, however, denied Alani bail upon the presentation of new evidence that he may pose a danger to the community.
“I have evidence before me that suggests you could be sympathetic to terrorists,” McAliley said.
Alani, a naturalized U.S. citizen, had taken a trip to Iraq to visit his brother in March, and he had also apparently told a fellow employee that same brother had been kidnapped and is a member of ISIS.
Furthermore, prosecutors presented even more evidence that the FBI found on Alani’s smartphone.
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He reportedly distributed a video of an execution performed by ISIS. In his accompanying message, written in Arabic, Alani called upon Allah to take revenge against non-Muslims.
Prosecutors also said that Alani sent $700 to an unnamed recipient in Iraq, where he was born.
He allegedly told investigators that he had an “evil side.”
Alani, who makes an average of $9,400 per month, put in a double shift on the day of the incident and did indeed logged overtime hours to work on the sabotaged plane.
He admitted that his actions put people in danger.
The pilot who noticed the warning sign told investigators that Alani’s sabotage could have caused the plane to crash, and Alani himself admitted that he would not allow his loved ones to board the plane in the state he left it in.
Alani is charged with “willfully damaging, destroying or disabling an aircraft” and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
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