By Jim Kouri
On Friday, a federal grand jury in Brooklyn, New York, handed down an indictment charging Faruq Khalil Muhammad ‘Isa, aka “Faruk Khalil Muhammad ‘Isa,” “Sayfildin Tahir Sharif” and “Tahir Sharif Sayfildin,” with aiding in the murder of five American soldiers in a suicide-bomb attack in Iraq in April 2009.
The 38-year old Muslim is charged with the murders of Staff Sergeant Gary L. Woods, 24, of Lebanon Junction, Ky.; Sergeant First Class Bryan E. Hall, 32, of Elk Grove, Calif.; Sergeant Edward W. Forrest Jr., 25, of St. Louis; Corporal Jason G. Pautsch, 20, of Davenport, Iowa; and Army Private First Class Bryce E. Gaultier, 22, from Cyprus, Calif.
The indictment also charges the suspected terrorist with conspiring to kill Americans abroad and providing material support to that terrorist conspiracy to kill Americans abroad.
In January 2011, the defendant was arrested and detained in Canada after he was charged by a federal complaint in the Eastern District of New York. The United States is seeking the defendant’s extradition from Canada in relation to the federal complaint in the Eastern District of New York.
Muhammad ‘Isa remains in Canadian custody, and his extradition hearing in is currently scheduled for January 30 to February 1, 2012.
The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; and Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the FBI.
The government’s investigation is being conducted by the FBI New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, with assistance provided by the Department of Defense, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the government of Tunisia.
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
This week, Representative Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the House Homeland Security committees, told his committee and observers that the U.S. military including military bases, recruitment stations and other armed services facilities are the No. 1 targets for radical Islamist terrorists within the United States.
During Wednesday’s joint House-Senate hearing held by Rep. King and Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), King described the armed services as being the “most sought-after” target for radical Islamist extremist groups.
“Military communities in the U.S. have become the most desirable and vulnerable targets for the violent homegrown Islamist extremists seeking to kill Americans in their homeland,” said King in his opening remarks.