PHOENIX (AP) — A Syrian man has been extradited to Arizona to face charges that he supplied components of improvised explosive devices to a jihadist group in Iraq that mounted attacks against the U.S. military.
Ahmad Ibrahim Al-Ahmad, who appeared Thursday in federal court in Phoenix, is accused of supplying the insurgency group, the 1920 Revolution Brigades, with IED components that were used against U.S. soldiers in Iraq from 2005 until July 2010. He is suspected of being involved in the research and development of methods for making IEDs.
The FBI said Al-Ahmad's fingerprints were found on items uncovered during the 2006 discovery of one of the largest IED caches in Iraq. The U.S. government determined that the materials seized were associated with IED attacks in which U.S. forces suffered casualties.
Several people have tied Al-Ahmad to the production of IED components, authorities said.
A person facing terrorism-related charges in Iraq told investigators that Al-Ahmad, after he fled Iraq and moved to China, designed circuit boards used to remotely detonate IEDs and found a factory in China to make the boards, the FBI said. Investigators said Al-Ahmad also supplied the group's political director with components that could be used in making IEDs.
Al-Ahmad pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, conspiracy to damage U.S. government property with an explosive, possession of a destructive device during a crime of violence, conspiracy to commit extraterritorial murder of a U.S. citizen and providing support to terrorists.
"I anticipate that it will be a lengthy case and the trial will take place in the courtroom and not in the media," said Deborah Williams, Al-Ahmad's court-appointed attorney.
Al-Ahmad was originally arrested in Turkey in 2011 after being secretly indicted in Arizona in 2011. He was extradited Wednesday, and records in his case were unsealed Thursday.
The indictment said certain parts in IEDs that were used against the U.S. military in Iraq were manufactured by a company headquartered in Arizona. The FBI declined a request by The Associated Press to identify the company.
The 1920 Revolution Brigades was active against U.S. forces in Sunni-dominated parts of Iraq until it switched sides in 2007 to join the fight against al-Qaida. The group, which has claimed responsibility for hundreds of IED attacks in Iraq, derives its name from the 1920 revolution in which Iraqis revolted against a British occupation.
Al-Ahmad's trial is scheduled for Oct. 7.