Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 13 November 2019

Iraqi-Canadian gets 26 years for role in 2009 suicide attack on US forces

Faruq Khalil Muhammad 'Isa pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to murder US citizens

US Army soldiers stand next to a guided missile launcher a few miles from the frontline in Iraq. AP
US Army soldiers stand next to a guided missile launcher a few miles from the frontline in Iraq. AP

An Iraqi-Canadian man has been sentenced to 26 years in prison this week for his role in a suicide attack in Iraq in 2009 that killed five US soldiers and two Iraqi police officers.

Faruq Khalil Muhammad 'Isa, 51, was arrested in 2011 for having links to a terror network that sent a truck filled with explosives to the US base in Mosul, which exploded near the gate and a US convoy vehicle.

He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to murder US citizens in March 2018. The charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, but under a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to sentence him to 26 years in jail.

"There's no excuse for even trying to kill American soldiers," US District Judge Roslynn Mauskopf said, adding that the sentence "sends a message" to anyone considering a similar attack.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's New York joint terrorism task force suspected that 'Isa belonged to a “facilitation network” that transported terrorist from Tunisia to Iraq to conduct suicide bombings against US soldiers.

‘Isa admitted to emailing with two insurgents and sending them US$700 (Dh2,500) to help them get into Iraq from Syria. He also provided “words of encouragement and religious guidance” to the co-conspirators, authorities said.

He was arrested in Edmonton, Alberta, in 2011.

The FBI collaborated on the case with the US Department of Defence, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the government of Tunisia.

"Today's sentence brings some measure of earthly justice to an individual involved in the deaths of five service members," assistant attorney general for national security John Demers said in a press release.

"But it cannot begin to compensate for the evil he contributed to or alleviate the pain of those family members whose lives he changed forever."

Several family members of the fallen soldiers objected to the sentence and demanded that 'Isa should spend the rest of his life behind bars.

“These five families will never be whole again,” said Becky Johnson, whose 24-year-old son, Gary Lee Woods Jr, died in the April 2009 blast.

She said the sentenced felt as though someone was saying her son “wasn’t worth fighting for”.

The Canadian citizen and Iraqi national will be deported to Canada following his release and is expected to be placed on federal probation for the rest of his life, said the judge.

Updated: June 20, 2019 01:49 PM

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