The arrest of the American woman comes in the backdrop of US ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson commenting that the Obama administration does not know how many Americans might have disappeared overseas to train with al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups
An American woman, operating online under the name 'Jihad Jane', was indicted on Wednesday for plotting to recruit jihadist fighters for executing terror attacks in South Asia and Europe, reports PTI.
The middle-aged Pennsylvania resident Colleen R LaRose alias Fatima LaRose was arrested in October last year and charged with spending more than a year networking with would-be jihadists around the world.
She was charged on four counts—conspiracy to provide support to terrorists, a count to kill in a foreign country, indulging in identity thefts and making false statements.
"The case demonstrates that terrorists are looking for Americans to join them in their cause and it shatters any lingering thoughts that one can spot a terrorist on an appearance," US attorney Michael Levy said in the 11-page indictment unsealed in Philadelphia.
The charging of ‘Jihad Jane’ comes months after another Pakistani-American national David Coleman Headley was charged with plotting terrorist attacks in India and Denmark.
Ms LaRose’s associate, said to be based in South Asia, was not named but identified in the court by his online identity ‘CC#3’. It was this individual, the court was told, who directed her to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilk.
An al-Qaeda affiliated group has put a bounty of $100,000 on Mr Vilk's head for a blasphemous cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.
Forty-seven-year-old Jihad Jane and David Headley were both arrested from the same place. The arrest of the blond all-American woman comes in the backdrop of US ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson commenting that the Obama administration does not know how many Americans might have disappeared overseas to train with al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups.
The number is not thought to be large, but Ms Patterson said a “nightmare scenario” would unfold if people holding US passports receive terrorist training and then return legally to the US to commit acts of violence. The US justice department said that the five unindicted co-conspirators are from South Asia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe and the United States.
According to the indictment, Ms LaRose travelled to Europe and tracked the intended target online in an effort to complete her task. She even asked for resident status in Sweden.
If convicted of the charges, Ms LaRose faces a potential sentence of life in prison and a $1 million fine.
She was “desperate to do something” to help suffering Muslims, authorities said, adding that her case shows how terror groups are looking to recruit Americans to carry out their goals.
A US department of justice spokesman wouldn't confirm if the case is related to a group of people arrested in Ireland earlier yesterday on suspicion of plotting against Mr Vilk.