According to federal prosecutors 28 year-old Rondell Henry, inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, planned a terrorist truck attack like the one in Nice, France that killed 84. It wasn’t a very well thought out plan. Henry stole a U-Haul in Alexandria and drove it to Dulles Airport in the early hours of March 27. Unable to get access to the airport he then drove to National Harbor to “get the largest number of casualties.” At National Harbor he broke into a boat and hid overnight. When he came back to the U-Haul police, who had the stolen vehicle under surveillance, arrested Henry. He soon confessed to the plot.
It had been almost a year since the only suspect in the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi appeared in court a couple weeks ago. Still looking very much like an Old Testament prophet, Khatallah took notes as defense lawyers asked a judge to throw out some of the charges against him.
The judge did not rule on the defense motions. No trial date has been set, nor has the government decided whether to seek the death penalty.
Ahmed Abu Khattala, suspect in the attack on the american embassy in Benghazi, was back in a Washington courtroom for a detention hearing. I failed to notice it last time but Khattala appears to have a zebibah, or prayer bump, on his forehead. Zacarias Moussaoui developed one about halfway through his trial; I wonder if he still has it, and if it’s any larger after eight years in solitary.
There was some trouble setting up the audio for the translator so we had a little more time to observe Khattala as they tried to get his earphones working.
As expected the government asked that Khatalla be held without bail, and his lawyer, Federal Public Defender Michelle Peterson said Mr. Khattala had no objection for now.
Khattala will be back in court next Tuesday.
“He looks like Moses” said the US marshal as he looked at the sketch I was working on. He did indeed look pretty wild as he was escorted into a DC courtroom looking perplexed. Two weeks ago he was seized on the Libyan coast and brought here aboard a U.S. warship.
“I never knew Santa Claus was a terrorist”, someone tweeted in response to my Twitter post of the above sketch.
Khattala will be back in court on Wednesday for a detention hearing. I wonder if the flak-vested heavily armed US marshals will again be out in full force around the courthouse?
No, not the Saturday night Times Square bomb attempt. Sabirhan Hasanoff and Wesam El-Hanafi are said to have “conspired to modernize Al Qaeda by providing computer systems expertise”. The two appeared before a magistrate-judge in U.S. District Court in Alexandria on Friday and are on their way to Manhattan for arraignment.
NY Times story here.