Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Federal prosecutors Tuesday unsealed a five-year-old criminal complaint accusing two Yemeni nationals of fighting for al Qaeda and helping Long Island-native Bryant Neal Vinas join the terrorist group in 2008.Saddiq Al-Abbadi, also known as Sufiyan al-Yemeni, and Ali Alivi, who also goes by the name Issa al-Yemeni, were both charged with conspiracy to murder United States nationals abroad and providing material support to al Qaeda. The federal complaint has been sealed since April 15, 2009.“There’s no escape from the reach of our law for violent terrorists, especially if they target our military,” Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.The pair was arrested in Saudi Arabia and brought to the US for trial, but the details of their apprehension and extradition were not available. Alvi appeared in federal court in Brooklyn on Sunday. Al-Abbadi’s first appearance is scheduled for Tuesday.Al-Abbadi and Alivi were both members of al Qaeda when they fought U.S. military forces stationed in Afghanistan, according to the court documents. In March 2008, the men traveled to the tribal areas of Pakistan, where they hoped to train and fight with al Qaeda, according to the federal complaint. It was during that time that they met Vinas and helped him join al Qaeda, court documents state.Credit: Federal Detention LetterVinas, who was raised Roman Catholic in Patchogue, was arrested by Pakistani police in 2008 and brought back to the United States. He has since pleaded guilty to helping the group plan an attack on the Long Island Rail Road. Vinas is one of four Long Islanders federal authorities have linked to al Qaeda: two were arrested before traveling abroad, and another, Samir Khan, was never indicted but he was killed in a drone strike in Yemen.It has been widely reported that Vinas, who still has yet to be sentenced, has been cooperating with authorities since 2008. The federal complaint is largely built on testimony from an unnamed cooperating witness who traveled to Pakistan in 2007 intending to join al Qaeda but was initially rebuffed by the organization. But Vinas is named in a federal detention letter associated with the case.In December 2007, the unnamed witness was taken to an al-Qaeda safe house in South Waziristan and vetted for admission, according to court documents. Alvi was also in attendance. An al-Qaeda leader suspected that the witness was a spy and refused his request to join the group.In March 2008, the federal government’s witness was staying at the same house with both Alvi and Al-Abbadi and learned that they were both members of al Qaeda, according to court documents. Al-Abbadi allegedly boasted about his time on the battlefield to the witness, displaying a scar and playing a video that showed him celebrating along with other fighters after a “successful attack,” the documents state.The two men and the witness apparently bonded. With the pair’s help, the witness had gained entry into al Qaeda, according to court documents. Vinas is the only American named in court documents who joined al Qaeda.During this time, Al-Abbadi and Alvi traveled from Pakistan to Afghanistan to conduct attacks against US military personnel, according to the complaint. Al-Abbadi is accused of leading a battle against US forces in Paktya Province in May 2008. A U.S. Army Ranger was killed and several others were wounded in the battle.Alvi eventually grew dissatisfied with al Qaeda senior leadership and left to join the Taliban. The facts of their arrest are still unclear.
Rooney finished a superb team goal to put United ahead and scored again before the break following a lovely through-ball from Juan Mata. The United skipper helped kill off the game by pinging a 35-yard pass to Robin van Persie, who headed past Jak Alnwick, before Papiss Cisse scored a late consolation for the Magpies from the penalty spot. Press Association Louis van Gaal’s decision to cancel Christmas Day training did not backfire. United were the best team for most of the match. Radamel Falcao had one of his best performances in a United shirt up front while Mata was a constant threat, threading dangerous passes through Newcastle’s stretched, unorganised defence. But it was Rooney, playing in a midfield role once again, who stole the show. Some felt Van Gaal’s decision to drop Rooney deeper was a mistake, but he has excelled there so far. Against Newcastle he dictated the pace of the game along with Mata and Michael Carrick and the timing of his runs for both goals was superb. It must be said that Newcastle helped ease United’s path to victory. The defending for all three goals was sloppy from Alan Pardew’s men, who have now lost four matches in a row. United, on the other hand, remain in third position in the Barclays Premier League – 10 points behind leaders Chelsea – thanks to their seventh win in eight matches. After a day off eating Christmas dinner with their families, it took a while for United’s players to get going on a chilly Boxing Day afternoon at Old Trafford. Newcastle created the best chances early on. Ayoze Perez beat two United players, but he tried to slip by a third when he should have squared to 17-year-old debutant Adam Armstrong, who had left his marker at the back post. In the 14th minute, Newcastle were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty. Pardew flung his arms in the air and ranted at fourth official Robert Madley after Mata clipped Yoan Gouffran’s heels as he entered the box, but referee Michael Jones waved play on. United finally sparked into life when Rooney found Van Persie, with a pin-point pass, but Alnwick raced off his line and forced the Dutchman wide. Not for the first time this season, David de Gea then saved United with an acrobatic dive to deny Daryl Janmaat, who had surged forward from the back. Despite the pressure from Newcastle, the hosts took the lead in the 23rd minute with an impressive team goal. Rooney started the move, laying the ball off to Mata, who chipped towards the back post after the Newcastle defence backed off. Falcao hooked the ball back across the box and Rooney tapped in from close range. Newcastle were rattled. The Stretford End demanded United attack and they did with style. Ashley Young brushed past two defenders and swung the ball over Falcao, but his downward header sneaked wide before Rooney made it 2-0 eight minutes before half-time. Mata again played a key role, sliding the ball through the away defence to the England captain, who tapped in past Alnwick. Van Gaal rose to his feet and punched the air. Eight minutes after the break, the United boss was applauding his team’s third goal of the afternoon. Rooney, again given time by Newcastle, looked up and floated a 35-yard pass over the away defence to find Van Persie, who nodded past Alnwick. With the result now beyond doubt, Van Gaal removed Carrick and Falcao for Darren Fletcher and James Wilson. Rooney remained on the pitch, looking for his first United hat-trick since August 2011. The United skipper came very close on the hour when he whipped a 20-yard free-kick just over Alnwick’s cross bar. With a game coming up against Tottenham on Sunday, United sensibly took their foot off the accelerator, but Fletcher made a mistake, allowing Ayoze into the box. Again, De Gea came to the rescue with a save at his near post. The Spaniard could do nothing about Newcastle’s 87th-minute consolation, though. Phil Jones tripped Jack Colback as he entered the box and Cisse slotted the penalty perfectly into the top right-hand corner. It did not matter, though. The game had been won long ago. Wayne Rooney scored twice and set up another goal as Manchester United swatted Newcastle aside with an easy 3-1 win at Old Trafford.