Arizona man gets 30 years in prison for supporting terrorism

Abdul Malik Kareem Abdul was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison on Wednesday, nearly a year after he was convicted on multiple terror-related charges, including providing material support to the Islamic State militant group. Abdul, 45, of Arizona, also supported two accomplices in their attack on an Islamic-themed art festival in 2015. Photo courtesy of Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff's Office

Feb. 8 (UPI) — A domestic terrorist who conspired to provide material support to the Islamic State militant group was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in federal prison.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem of Arizona provided support to the terror group by plotting various attacks inside the United States — including the 2015 shooting at the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest in Texas in which a security guard was wounded.

Authorities say Abdul, beginning in 2014, worked with two accomplices in plotting attacks.

“Thanks to the response of brave law enforcement officers at the scene, no innocent lives were lost when [Abdul’s accomplices] attacked the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas,” acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord said in a statement. “The National Security Division will continue to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those who conspire with others to support foreign terrorist organizations and to commit acts of violence in our country.”

Last year, Abdul was convicted on several terror charges, including conspiracy to transport firearms with the intent to commit murder, making false statements to the FBI and illegal possession of a firearm.

“Today’s sentence, in the country’s first trial involving a homeland terrorist attack committed in the name of ISIL, demonstrates the commitment of the United States to hold accountable any person who participates in or aids in any way acts of terrorism against our citizens,” acting U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Strange said.

After completing his prison time, Abdul must submit to a lifetime of supervised release.

“Some people who do not believe in the American way of life are plotting to do us harm,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael DeLeon said. “The protection of U.S. citizens and our communities remains the FBI’s No. 1 priority.”

Investigators said Abdul, 45, and his accomplices, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, considered attacking several potential targets — including military bases, members of the U.S. armed forces, shopping centers and even Super Bowl XLIX, which was held in the Phoenix area in February 2015.

Three months after the Super Bowl passed, in May, Simpson and Soofi were shot dead by authorities after they started shooting outside the Texas art exhibit. Authorities said Abdul served as the mastermind of the attack and provided funding. A security guard was slightly injured.

The Islamic State later claimed credit for the plot, the first time the group has done so for an attack inside the United States.


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