New York court charges US man for trying to join Qaeda

A US man was arrested on Long Island Friday, accused of trying to join Al-Qaeda in Yemen to wage violent jihad and of conspiring to commit murder abroad.

US-born citizen Marcos Alonso Zea, 25, also known as Ali Zea, was arrested at home and was to appear before a magistrate in a federal court later Friday.

He is accused of conspiracy to commit murder, trying to provide support to terrorists and to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and obstruction of justice.

The prosecution says that in 2011 Zea plotted to travel overseas to wage violent jihad against the perceived enemies of Islam, including the Yemen government.

Yemen is the ancestral home of Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and the base of AQAP, considered one of the deadliest franchises of the global militant network.

A foiled attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound passenger jet on Christmas Day 2009 was traced back to AQAP.

On January 4, 2012 Zea flew from New York to London en route to Yemen, but was stopped by customs officials in Britain and sent back to the United States.

Thwarted from travelling himself, the prosecution says Zea then encouraged and supported a friend, Justin Kaliebe, in plotting to travel to Yemen to wage jihad.

Kaliebe was arrested by FBI and police intelligence at New York's JFK airport on January 21, 2013.

The prosecution says Islamist extremist material was found on the hard drive of Zea's computer, including issues of AQAP's online magazine, Inspire.

The publication seeks to radicalize young Western Muslims and has included instructions on bomb-making.

"Despite being born and raised in the United States, Zea allegedly betrayed his country," US prosecutor Loretta Lynch said in a statement.