U.S. News

Ohio man gets 20 years prison for Islamic State-linked attack plot

(Reuters) - A southwest Ohio man who admitted to having plotted to execute a U.S. military base employee and then attack a local police station in support of Islamic State was sentenced on Wednesday to 20 years in prison, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Munir Abdulkader, 22, from the Cincinnati suburb of West Chester, had pleaded guilty on March 24 to attempted murder of a government employee, attempted material support of a foreign terrorist organization and illegal firearm possession.

U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett in Cincinnati imposed the prison term, and ordered that Abdulkader remain under supervision for life.

Prosecutors had sought a 25-year prison term.

A federal public defender representing Abdulkader did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Abdulkader, who became a U.S. citizen in 2006 and had been a student at Xavier University, had begun by July 2014 expressing support for the Islamic State on Twitter, including a desire for martyrdom, according to prosecutors.

The defendant also communicated electronically with Junaid Hussain, an Islamic State member who encouraged him to conduct a violent attack in the United States, prosecutors said.

Hussain was a British hacker who U.S. and European officials had regarded as a top computer expert for Islamic State in Syria and a supporter of “lone wolf” attacks, before he was killed in an August 2015 U.S. drone strike.

Prosecutors said Abdulkader planned to murder the military official at home, videotape the killing so it could be used in Islamic State propaganda, and then use firearms and Molotov cocktails to attack a police station in the Cincinnati area.

Abdulkader was arrested on May 21, 2015, the same day he acquired an AK-47 assault rifle, court papers show.

The case is U.S. v. Abdulkader, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, No. 16-cr-00019.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr