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Former Alabama resident sentenced after trying to help fund al-Qaeda

WIAT Birmingham logoWIAT Birmingham 4/27/2022 Kaitlin Kanable
Former Alabama resident sentenced after trying to help fund al-Qaeda © Provided by WIAT Birmingham Former Alabama resident sentenced after trying to help fund al-Qaeda

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WHNT) — A former resident of Tuscaloosa was sentenced in federal court Wednesday after instructing an undercover employee with the FBI how to transfer money to Al Qaeda.

Alaa Mohd Abusaad, 26, was sentenced to 90 months in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release for concealment of terrorism financing. She pleaded guilty to the charge in September 2019.

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The U.S Attorney’s Office said in a press release that Abusaad instructed an undercover FBI employee about how to send money to mujahedeen, fighters engaged in jihad, between February and April 2018.

According to an affidavit from an FBI special agent, Abusaa sent multiple messages to the undercover employee during that time. One of those messages said, “It’s [money] always needed. You can’t have a war without weapons. You can’t prepare a soldier without equipment.”

Officials said Abusaad also advised the undercover employee how to send money in a way that law enforcement officials wouldn’t be able to detect, including fake names and addresses when conducting electronic money transfers.

Officials also explained Abusaad introduced the undercover employee to a financial facilitator who could route the FBI’s money to “brothers that work with aq,” meaning al-Qaeda.

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Court documents said she was extradited to Shelby County after being arrested in Ohio in October 2018 and has been in the Shelby County Jail for 42 months.

Abusaad was born in Chicago, she moved to Tuscaloosa when she was 10-years-old. She was a resident and student at the University of Alabama until she married and moved to Ohio in 2018.

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