Brooklyn Man: Yes, I Conspired With al-Qaeda

Wesam El-Hanafi pleads guilty, could face 20 years
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2012 3:56 PM CDT
Updated Jun 18, 2012 4:22 PM CDT
In this artist's drawing Wesam El-Hanafi, left, and Sabirhan Hasanoff are seen during their initial appearance on terrorism related charges in Alexandria, Va., on Friday, April 30, 2010.   (AP Photo/William Hennessy, Jr.)

(Newser) – A Brooklyn man pleaded guilty today to helping al-Qaeda but denied that he sent Casio watches to Yemen to help trigger terrorist bombs, Reuters reports. Wesam El-Hanafi, 37, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and providing material support to a terrorist group: "In July 2009 I participated in a conversation with others in which we discussed seeking out additional contacts within al-Qaeda," he told a Manhattan judge. Prosecutors say the charges should get him 20 years.

But El-Hanafi insisted through his attorney that the Casios—which can be used to trigger bombs—were sent to Yemen as gifts for his family. En-Hanafi was apprehended in 2010 with Sabirhan Hasanoff, 36, a US/Australian citizen who admitted to similar crimes two weeks ago. El-Hanafi will return to court in October but has no sentencing date, thanks to a blood clot in his leg that's giving him health problems. (Read more al-Qaeda stories.)

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