NEW YORK: A New York man was on Friday sentenced to 27 years in jail for conspiring to kill American soldiers stationed overseas and on related terror charges, the US Justice Department said.
Betim Kaziu traveled from Brooklyn to Cairo, Egypt, in February 2009 to participate in attacks against US troops based in the Middle East and in the Balkans on behalf of Al-Qaeda, prosecutors said during the trial.
Testimony at trial established that Kaziu had been radicalized, in part, by Internet speeches of Anwar Al-Awlaki, the American-born cleric and leading figure in Al-Qaeda, who was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen last year.
Prosecutors also presented evidence from Kaziu’s social networking website that included quotes from Osama bin Laden.
While Kaziu was in Cairo, he allegedly tried to acquire automatic weapons and attempted to travel to Somalia to join Al-Shebab, a Somali terrorist organization allied with Al-Qaeda, the court heard.
He later traveled to Kosovo to target US troops stationed there, prosecutors said, but was arrested by the Kosovo Police Service on August 27, 2009.
Before his arrest, Kaziu recorded a martyrdom video on the Albanian coast in which he expressed his last thoughts before departing for “paradise”. He also bought a plane ticket to Pakistan, where he had links to Al-Qaeda.
The Kosovo police transferred him to the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force to face terrorism charges in the United States.