Jurors in the New York trial of alleged al-Qaeda operative Suleiman Abu Ghaith have watched videos of the defendant warning of a “storm” of airplane attacks a month after September 11, 2001.
Abu Ghaith, 48, is on trial in Manhattan federal court for conspiring to kill Americans and providing material support to al-Qaeda.
Prosecutors contend Abu Ghaith, a former imam at a Kuwaiti mosque, was a top-tier member of al-Qaeda and knew of various plots.
On Monday, prosecutors played two videos from October 2001 in which Abu Ghaith, a Kuwaiti and son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, is seen warning of further attacks in the wake of 9/11.
“There are thousands of young Muslims who look forward to die for the sake of Allah,” Abu Ghaith said in one video.
“The storm of airplanes will not stop.”
At another point, Abu Ghaith, 48, warns Muslims “not to board aircraft and we advise them not to live in high rises and tall buildings”.
‘Never spoke to Abu Ghaith’
Also on Monday, prosecutors questioned via a video feed from the UK a convicted al-Qaeda operative linked to “shoe bomber” Richard Reid, who testified that he was planning shoe-bomb attacks on airplanes around the same time that Abu Ghaith was warning of additional attacks.
The implication was that Abu Ghaith was aware of these planned attacks.
The government witness, Saajid Badat, 34, testified that he met with bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders regarding a plan to explode devices on airplanes.
At the same time, he acknowledged that he never spoke to Abu Ghaith about the plot and said he did not know if Abu Ghaith was aware of it.
From late October to December 2001, Badat said he plotted attacks with Reid, the man who became known as the shoe bomber after his attempt to detonate explosives on a flight to Miami in 2001.
Reid, a British citizen, pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in a US District Court in Boston.
Badat, also a UK citizen, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for the plot after pleading guilty in the UK to
conspiring to harm an aircraft.
His sentence was later reduced for his cooperation with authorities and he has since been released from prison.
If convicted, Abu Ghaith, who has pleaded not guilty, could face life in prison.