Trial to commence on IS-linked shootout at Texas Cartoon Contest
Feb 15, 2016 11:53 PM EST
A man accused of helping two men plan the May 3 attack on a Prophet Mohammad Cartoon contest in Texas is set to go on trial this week. The trial is said to be the first in the United States on terror charges linked to the Islamic State.
Sky News reported that the man, identified as Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, is charged with conspiracy and conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Accordingly, Kareem let the two men, named Nadir Soofi and Elton Simpson, stay at his Phoenix home and provided the weapons they used in the May 3 shooting.
The two, who had semi-automatic rifles with them, were shot and killed in a shootout with the police before they could cause terror in the May 3 incident, which was held in the Dallas suburb of Garland, Yahoo News reported.
Authorities believe that Kareem and the two gunmen watched videos showing violence by the jihadist group, tried to get pipe bombs, and researched on how to travel to the Middle East to join the IS fighters. Kareem reportedly encouraged the two men to carry out more violence in the United States including their plan to blow up a stadium in Phoenix during the 2015 Super Bowl, NBC News reported.
Six weeks before the cartoon contest, it has been reported that Simpson accessed an IS listing of residential addresses of United States military service members. Simpson and Soof even drove to Yuma and Arizona near military systems after they planned to attack a base.
Kareem, however, has denied the allegations made against him. His lawyer, Daniel Maynard, said in a statement that the charges against his client were based largely on an "unreliable confidential informant."
Kareem's brother, James Newman, defended his brother as well, saying he never expressed radicalism or his religious views to him. He also pointed out that his sibling was only a victim of guilt by association with the two gunmen.
FBI Director James Comey claimed one of the attackers exchanged more than a hundred messages with an overseas member of the IS.
Authorities say Kareem was first interviewed for a terrorism investigation in 2011 when one of his roommates attempted to get a fraudulent Arizona State University degree as part of a plan to gain admission into an Islamic University in Saudi Arabia. During the search, officials found al-Qaeda promotional materials on Kareem's laptop.
There have been 78 people charged with crimes related to IS since March of 2014, as per Karen J. Greenberg, the director of the Fordham Law School's Center on National Security. However, this is the first time that one has gone on trial due to terrorism-related charges.