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4 Ohio men - including 2 former OSU students - arrested for links to al-Qaida

An al-Qaida flag over a map of the Middle East. (MGN)

TOLEDO (AP) -- Four men with Ohio ties, including two former Ohio State University students, were working together to send money and other assistance to a known al Qaida leader before he was killed in a drone strike, the U.S. Justice Department said Thursday.

The money, federal prosecutors said, was intended to support efforts to carry out violence against U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The two pairs of brothers worked to raise money and deliver it to the al Qaida leader over about seven years beginning in 2005, according to an indictment filed in federal court in Ohio.

One of the suspects traveled to Yemen in 2009 and gave $22,000 to an associate of Anwar al-Awlaki, the Al Qaida leader, the indictment said.

U.S. officials considered al-Awlaki, who was killed by an unmanned U.S. drone in Yemen in 2011, to be an inspirational leader of al-Qaida, and linked him to the planning and execution of several attacks targeting American and Western interests, including the 2009 Christmas Day attempt on a Detroit-bound airliner.

All four men were charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, providing material support to terrorists and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

According to the indictment, they are:

- Yahya Farooq Mohammad, 37, an Indian citizen who was at Ohio State from 2002-04. He has lived in the United Arab Emirates since 2004. He also was charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

- Ibrahim Zubair Mohammad, 36, an Indian citizen who was at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign from 2001-05. He has lived in Toledo since 2006. He also was charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

- Asif Ahmed Salim, 35, a U.S. citizen who was at Ohio State from 2000-05. He lived in Overland Park, Kansas, from 2007-2011 before moving to the United Arab Emirates.

- Sultane Room Salim, 40, a U.S. citizen who lived in the Chicago-area from 2006-12 until moving to the Columbus area.

Court documents do not list attorneys for any of the men.



EARLIER STORIES

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) - Four men with ties to Ohio--including two men who are former students at The Ohio State University--have just been indicted on federal terrorism charges.

According to the Department of Justice, the four men have ties to one of the most notorious al-Qaida leaders: Anwar Al-Awlaki.

The men are : Yahya Farooq Mohammad, 37; Ibrahim Zubair Mohammad, 36; Asif Ahmed Salim, 35; and Sultane Room Salim, 40.

According to the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Ohio, the four-count indictment was unsealed Thursday. It charges all four men with conspiring to travel to Yemen to provide thousands of dollars to Anwar Al-Alwaki in an effort to support violent jihad against U.S. military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world.

All of the men had ties to Ohio, including three of them directly to the Columbus area:

Farooq Mohammad, an Indian citizen, was an engineering student at Ohio State from 2002 to 2004. He married a U.S. citizen in or around March 2008.

His brother Ibrahim, also an in Indian citizen, studied engineering at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign from 2001 to 2005. He moved to Toledo shortly after, married a U.S. citizen, and became a U.S. citizen in 2007.

Asif Salim, a U.S. citizen, studied at OSU from 2000 to 2005. He moved to Overland Park, Kansas, in 2007.

His brother Sultane, also a U.S. citizen, who lived in Chicago from 2006 to 2012 until moved to the Columbus area.

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