A Tennessee man accused of killing a soldier outside a Little Rock, Ark., military recruiting station last year has asked a judge to change his plea to guilty, claiming for the first time that he is affiliated with a Yemen-based affiliate of Al Qaeda.
In a letter to the judge presiding over his case, the accused killer, Abdulhakim Muhammad, calls himself a soldier in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and calls the shooting “a Jihadi Attack” in retribution for the killing of Muslims by American troops.
“I wasn’t insane or post traumatic nor was I forced to do this Act,” Mr. Muhammad said in a two-page, hand-printed note in pencil. The attack, which he said did not go as planned, was “justified according to Islamic Laws and the Islamic Religion. Jihad — to fight those who wage war on Islam and Muslims.”
It remains unclear whether Mr. Muhammad really has ties to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which President Obama has said is behind the attempted Christmas Day bombing of an American plane by a Nigerian man.
But if evidence emerges that his claim is true, it will give the June 1, 2009, shooting in Little Rock new significance at a time when Yemen is being more closely scrutinized as a source of terrorist plots against the United States.
Mr. Muhammad, 24, a Muslim convert from Memphis, spent about 16 months in Yemen starting in the fall of 2007, ostensibly teaching English and learning Arabic. During that time, he married a woman from south Yemen. But he was also imprisoned for several months because he overstayed his visa and was holding a fraudulent Somali passport, the Yemen government said. [continued…]