Saudi immigrant suspected of attending Al Qaeda training camp arrested in Oklahoma

Saudi immigrant suspected of attending Al Qaeda training camp arrested in Oklahoma

A man suspected of attending an al Qaeda training camp has been arrested in Oklahoma on visa fraud charges. He's also accused of lying during an investigation on international terrorism.

Naif Abdulaziz Alfallaj was arrested by federal law enforcement in Weatherford Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

According to the complaint filed against Alfallaj, the FBI discovered his fingerprints on an Oklahoma pilot's school application matched fingerprints on an application for an al Qaeda training camp. The document, from 2000, is for the al Farooq camp. The camp trained some of Osama Bin Laden's "highest ranking deputies, and several of the hijackers from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and at least one individual who was convicted for his role in the 1998 East Africa Embassy bombings," the complaint says.

Alfallaj appeared in federal court Tuesday in Oklahoma City. He pleaded not guilty to three charges against him.

He's charged with knowingly obtaining a non-immigrant visa using false claims, using the visa he obtained fraudulently to apply for pilot's school, and for making false statements to federal law enforcement agents about his travels to Afghanistan and military training there. For each visa fraud count, Alfallaj could be sentenced to up to ten years in prison. For the third count, he could face up to eight years.

Alfallaj will be in custody until a detention hearing next week. The U.S. Attorney's Office considers him a flight risk and will ask that he remain in custody through the trial, which is scheduled for mid-March.

Alfallaj came to the U.S. in 2011 on a non-immigrant visa, the DOJ said, and had been living in Weatherford with his family since 2012.

The New York Times reports the FBI has been watching Alfallaj's activities for about five months to determine if he was involved in terrorist activity.

The now 34-year-old earned a pilot's license in 2017. Noncitizens must submit fingerprints as part of the licensing process.

Many documents and media recovered in Afghanistan sit on shelves at the FBI. The department has begun to go through terrorist camp applications to determine if fingerprints could be identified.

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