A Sudanese man convicted of a 1993 terror plot against several buildings in the U.S., including the United Nations, was deported this week after serving out a more than 20 year prison sentence.
Amir Abdelghani, 59, was removed from the United States on Oct. 12 and "handed over to his home country’s authorities," U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Friday.
He was one of 10 people convicted in 1996 of a conspiracy headed by the Egyptian cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman to target the UN, FBI offices and other New York City landmarks.
Among those involved in the plot was Abdelghani's cousin, Fadil Abdelghani, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role, and deported to Sudan in 2015.
The nascent plan would have involved car bombs at the United Nations headquarters in New York, two main tunnels into Manhattan, and the office building that houses the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
But FBI agents, relying on an informant, arrested several group members before preparations for the attack went further.
James M. Fox, head of the FBI's New York office at the time, said agents caught five of the men concocting explosives in large drums in a Queens, New York, hideout. "We entered so fast some of the subjects didn't know we were in the bomb factory until they were in handcuffs," Fox said, according to a 1993 New York Times report.
U.S. law enforcement was already on high alert that year, after a truck bomb placed at New York City's World Trade Center killed six people, but failed to topple the building as intended.
"The removal of this convicted terrorist is a strong declaration of ICE’s commitment to public safety and national security," said Simona Flores-Lund, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations field office director for Philadelphia. "This removal is a victory for the United States and further emphasizes ICE’s vital role in protecting our nation."
An immigration judge ordered Abdelghani removed from the U.S. in 2001. However, immigration agents only took custody of him when his federal prison sentence finished in July 2019.