A Kenyan man spent years training in the Philippines to conduct a 9/11-style attack against the United States, going through flight school and researching methods to get into the country and hijack a plane, federal prosecutors said Wednesday, December 16, 2020.
Cholo Abdi Abdullah was allegedly part of an al-Shabab unit and taking orders directly from a commander in the African terror group — one who was responsible for previously directing a deadly 2019 hotel attack in Nairobi, prosecutors said.
Abdullah, who has been in custody since last year, is expected to appear in federal court in New York later Wednesday. He faces multiple criminal counts related to his alleged support for the terror group.
Officials say he was conducting research on American skyscrapers as potential targets – but it was not immediately clear if any New York landmarks were on his list.
Filipino news outlets widely reported his arrest in July 2019, though the details of the alleged plot were not known at the time. According to the web site Rappler, Abdullah had a bomb and bomb-making equipment when he was arrested.