Al-Qaida suspect linked to cartoonist plot to plead guilty

PHILADELPHIA – An al-Qaida suspect linked to a plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist wants to plead guilty to terrorism charges in Philadelphia, according to court documents filed Thursday.

Ali Charaf Damache is scheduled to admit his guilt for the U. S. District Court Judge Petrese B. Tucker in a hearing Monday, prosecutors told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

A message seeking comment from Damache’s lawyer, Noah Gorson, was not immediately returned on Thursday.

Damache previously pleaded not guilty to charges he was involved in a terrorist cell that wanted to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks, depicting the Prophet Mohammed depicted as a dog. The plot never materialized.

He came from Spain to Philadelphia in 2017 to be tried in a civilian court despite President Donald Trump’s promise to send terror suspects to the military prison in Guantanamo Bay.

Known as The Black Flag, Damache was accused of searching for light skin color, women and others who do not fit the traditional terrorist profile. His targets included Colleen LaRose, a Pennsylvania woman who herself ‘Jihad Jane’ online; Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, a single mother from Colorado; and Mohammad Hassan Khalid, who was at that time a high school honors student from Maryland. They were all eventually arrested.

Damache married Paulin-Ramirez the day she traveled to Ireland to meet him in 2009. Paulin-Ramirez eventually helped the FBI investigates the terror cell.

Officials said that Damache, the group recruited men online to wage jihad in South Asia and Europe, and sought to recruit women with western passports to travel through Europe in support of the cause.

LaRose is where a 10-year prison sentence. Paulin-Ramirez and Khalid are released after serving their punishment.

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