first_imgAn airline mechanic pleaded guilty on Wednesday to sabotaging a jetliner with 150 people aboard at Miami International Airport, causing the pilot to abort the flight just before its scheduled takeoff.Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani entered his plea in federal court in Miami. He previously admitted to investigators that he had committed the sabotage in order to receive overtime to fix the American Airlines jet, which he later did.“I do admit the guilt,” Alani said through an Arabic interpreter.The 60-year-old man, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Iraq, has been an airline mechanic for 30 years.According to prosecutors, he has a brother in Iraq who may be involved with the Islamic State extremist group. They add that Alani made statements wishing Allah would use “divine powers” in order to harm non-Muslims.Investigators also say he had Islamic State videos on his phone that show mass murders, and that he did not tell the FBI that he traveled to Iraq last March, following his arrest.Despite the evidence, Alani was not charged with any terrorism-related crimes. He has pleaded guilty to attempted destruction of an aircraft, which carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 4.Court documents reveal the sabotage involved gluing Styrofoam inside the nose of the Boeing 737, in order to disable the crew’s ability to monitor airspeed, altitude and the pitch of the plane. Authorities explain that if the flight had taken off as intended on July 17 for Nassau, Bahamas, it would have crashed.Alani’s actions on that day were caught on surveillance video, and co-workers also identified him as the suspect.Jonathan Meltz, Alani’s attorney, says his client has led a “law-abiding life” and that he did not intend to harm the aircraft or the people aboard. He adds that Alani’s sole motivation was “just trying to provide for his family like most of us try to do.”last_img

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