PHOENIX - A Syrian man has been extradited to Arizona to face charges of conspiring to use improvised explosive devices against U.S. forces in Iraq, the FBI said Thursday.
The ABC15 Investigators have also learned that one of those bombings appears to have killed two Arizona soldiers in 2007.
Ahmad Ibrahim al-Ahmad appeared in federal court in Phoenix on Thursday after being extradited from Turkey a day earlier, the FBI said
Al-Ahmad was originally arrested in Turkey in 2011 after being secretly indicted in Arizona in 2011, the FBI said. The charges accuse al-Ahmad him of conspiring between 2005 and 2010 to supply bomb components to an Iraqi insurgency group, the 1920 Revolution Brigades, for use in IEDs that were used against U.S. military personnel.
Al-Ahmad also is charged with possession of a destructive device during a crime of violence, the FBI said.
Federal officials provided the ABC15 Investigators with al-Ahmad's unsealed indictment.
The records show the case is being handled in Arizona because Al-Ahmad used parts from a company that is based in the state.
“Al-Ahmad procured component parts for wireless initiation systems to be used in radio-controlled improvised explosive devices (IEDs) including from, but not limited to, a company headquartered in Arizona,” according to the indictment.
The 1920 Revolution Brigades was a small jihadist group that 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.
Court records also show that two Bagdad-area attacks linked to al-Ahmad killed a total of four U.S. soldiers.
According to the indictment, one of those explosions happened near the Baghdad International Airport on April 6, 2007 when "three U.S. soldiers were killed in action by a cellular phone initiated IED." It appears it's the same explosion that killed two soldiers with Arizona ties:
That same day, military officials announced Private Damian Rodriguez and Specialist Ryan Dallam were two of three soldiers killed by an remotely-detonated IED in Baghdad.
Rodriguez grew up in Tucson and graduated Pueblo High School, according to 2007 media reports. He was born in Mexico and was awaiting naturalization while serving our country. He was granted citizenship after his death in honor of his sacrifice and service.
Ryan Dallam attended Show Low High School in Arizona before moving to Oklahoma.
Federal officials would not speak further about the case, limiting their comments to a written press release and information contained in the indictment.
Officials also declined to name the Arizona company because it’s part of an ongoing case. But they said that company is fully cooperating with the investigation and it was not part of the conspiracy or attacks.
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.
According to the FBI, if al-Ahmad is convicted of the offenses alleged in the indictment, he could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.