Moroccan Man Wants To Bomb Harvard and Homeland Security: Prosecutor


El Mehdi Semlali Fathi, a 26-year-old Moroccan man, Thursday expressed his interest on bombing the Harvard University and Homeland Security offices in Hartford, Connecticut.

Authorities said that Fathi continued to stay in the United States after failing out of Virginia International University and eventual expiration of his student visa, which expired in 2009. Fathi faced deportation to Morocco after he made the false statements in an attempt to seek political asylum in the U.S., SacBee reports.

During an interview with a federal agent in February, Fathi falsely claimed that Moroccan intelligence authorities beat and arrested him as part of a conspiracy with all the other members of Jamaat Ansar El-Mehdi, a Moroccan-based terrorist group that was dismantled by the country's security forces in 2006.

Fathi, from Bridgeport, was arrested in April on immigration-related charges and detained without bail. On Thursday, he pleaded guilty to perjury in connection with his refugee application. He admitted that Moroccan authorities never arrested or persecuted him.

According to an FBI affidavit, Fathi had previously expressed his desire to bomb an out-of-state school and a federal building in Connecticut by using remote-controlled toy airplanes. He revealed his alleged targets, for the first time, Thursday.

Prosecutor Krishna Patel described the statements as "aspirational" bomb attacks. Speaking in Arabic, Fathi said that he had been planning the operation for months and that the funds were expected to be sourced from laundered money and drug-dealing profits.

The U.S. Attorney's office said that Fathi will not be charged with any terrorism offenses based on investigations. He faces 18 to 24 months in prison and deportation once he completes his sentence.

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