Sunday 18 March 2018

I helped Jihad Jane's Irish terror group, admits teen

A TEENAGER accused of helping an Irish-based terror cell will plead guilty to a terrorism charge in the US.

Pakistani-born Mohammad Hassan Khalid was arrested last summer when he was a 17-year-old high school student in Ellicott City, Maryland.

He met a woman who called herself Jihad Jane in an online chat room when he was 15 and had agreed to help her seek money and recruits to wage a Muslim holy war in Europe, authorities said.

The woman, Colleen LaRose, had moved to Ireland in late 2009. She admitted last March that she had plotted to kill a Swedish artist who had offended Muslims.

LaRose (48) faces a sentence of life in prison. She is not just a homegrown US terrorist but a rare female one.

Khalid had pleaded not guilty to a charge of aiding terrorism, which carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence. However, according to court papers filed yesterday, he will now change his plea in a hearing scheduled for April 2.

Teachers at Mount Hebron High School said they remembered Khalid, a 2011 graduate, for his strong work ethic.


But in a secret life online, he pledged to forward money to LaRose for her to pass on to the jihadists, or holy warriors, and hid a passport she sent him, authorities said. LaRose, of Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, was being watched by the FBI after posting online videos in which she vowed to kill or die for the jihadist cause.

She moved here in late 2009 but returned voluntarily to surrender to US authorities.

Khalid was indicted along with Ali Charaf Damache, an Irish citizen from Algeria who married another American woman, Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, of Colorado, after she moved to Waterford to meet him. Paulin-Ramirez (33) pleaded guilty last year to providing material support to terrorists, the charge now facing Khalid.

The US women were sought for their Western looks and passports, authorities have said. No sentencing date has been set for either. Damache, known as Black Flag, was charged in the Khalid indictment but has not been extradited.


According to prosecutors, he sought recruits to train with an al-Qa'ida offshoot in Algeria.

Damache was taken into Irish custody on a threat-related charge in March 2010, when gardai in Waterford detained him, Paulin-Ramirez and five others as they investigated the plot against the artist.

Damache is charged in the US with conspiracy to aid terrorists and attempted identity theft to facilitate international terrorism.


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