Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo is shown in a file photo from June 14, 2011. Abdo, a Muslim… (Associated Press )
An AWOL Muslim soldier was convicted Thursday of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction on a Texas restaurant full of Ft. Hood troops, a verdict that could send him to prison for life.
A federal jury also found Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo, 22, guilty of all other charges against him: one count of attempted murder of U.S. officers or employees and four counts of possessing a weapon in furtherance of a federal crime of violence, U.S. Atty. Robert Pitman said in a statement.
Abdo was absent without leave from Ft. Campbell, Ky., when police found and arrested him at a motel in Killeen, Texas, in July. Officers found components for an explosive device in his room and backpack and concluded that Abdo was intending to commit mass murder.
“It's important to note that this plot was interrupted and a potential tragedy prevented because an alert citizen notified law enforcement of suspicious activity,” Pitman said.
Testimony during Abdo’s trial revealed that he intended to detonate the destructive device inside an unspecified restaurant frequented by soldiers from Ft. Hood.
“This verdict confirms the collective efforts by all of our partners on the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force to address terrorism in any shape or form, whether it be by one or by many,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Armando Fernandez in the same release.
Abdo explained the plot as an effort to get "justice" for the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the Associated Press. In an audio recording played during the trial, Abdo cited his religion as the impetus for his plot.
He remains in federal custody and is scheduled to be sentenced July 20.
Less than 200 miles away, another U.S. citizen was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison for his efforts to supportal-Qaida.
Barry Walter Bujol Jr., convicted of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and of aggravated identity theft, was also ordered by a federal judge in Houston to pay a $10,000 fine, according to the Associated Press.
Bujol was arrested in May 2010 after using fake identification to sneak aboard a Middle East-bound ship. Prosecutors said he provided the terrorist organization with money, restricted U.S. military documents and GPS equipment.
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