Sunday, February 25, 2018
News Roundup

Tunisian man charged in N.Y. terror cell plot

NEW YORK — A Tunisian man accused of radicalizing a Canadian resident charged in a plot to derail a train has been charged with trying to stay in the United States illegally to build a terrorism cell for international acts of terror such as poisoning a water system with bacteria, authorities said Thursday.

Law enforcement authorities had watched Ahmed Abassi since he arrived in the United States from Canada in mid March and arrested him April 22 at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Abassi met regularly with an undercover FBI agent and met with another Tunisian citizen later arrested in Canada in the plot to derail the train, they said.

"Ahmed Abassi had an evil purpose for seeking to remain in the United States — to commit acts of terror and develop a network of terrorists here and to use this country as a base to support the efforts of terrorists internationally," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a release issued after the federal indictment against Abassi was unsealed Thursday.

Prosecutors, in a letter submitted to a U.S. District Court judge in Manhattan, said Abassi had radicalized Chiheb Esseghaier, who is charged in Toronto with conspiring with al-Qaida members in Iran to derail a train that runs between New York City and Montreal.

Prosecutors said Abassi told an undercover FBI agent Esseghaier's plans were good but the time was not right.

"The defendant noted that he had suggested an alternative plot — contaminating the air or water with bacteria in order to kill up to 100,000 people — but that Esseghaier was dismissive of that plan," the government said.

"He also stated … that if he was living in the United States he would be willing to carry out terrorist operations in the United States," prosecutors wrote.

The indictment charges Abassi with two counts of lying on two immigration forms for a green card and work visa. Each count carries a maximum term of 25 years in prison upon conviction.

Abassi's lawyer Sabrina Shroff said he "flatly denies the accusations in the indictment."

Comments
Hit-and-run driver in fatal accident sought by law enforcement

Hit-and-run driver in fatal accident sought by law enforcement

A hit-and-run crash has left a Tampa man dead, his female passenger in critical condition and law enforcement in search of the man who was driving the vehicle that struck them from behind.A Nissan Sentra was traveling north in the inside lane of U.S....
Updated: 2 hours ago

Riverview woman dies in Friday car crash

A woman died Friday when her car collided with another vehicle on U.S. 301 in Riverview, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.Melanie Hoitt, 38, of Riverview was driving a Nissan Altima north on U.S. 301 approaching Southern Pointe Boulevard short...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Troopers: New York man dies after falling through hole in RV

Troopers: New York man dies after falling through hole in RV

A New York man died on Interstate 75 in Sumter County on Sunday after falling through a hole that opened in the cabin of a recreational vehicle when it collided with a guardrail, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.Keith Hertik, 52, of Bay Shore,...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Controversy over Parkland shooting is political and personal for Sheriff Scott Israel

Controversy over Parkland shooting is political and personal for Sheriff Scott Israel

Only days after thousands of grieving Parkland students and families gave him a standing ovation on national television, Scott Israel suddenly finds himself embroiled in controversy over his agency’s response to the worst high school shooting in U.S....
Updated: 2 hours ago
A rockin’ closing ceremony

A rockin’ closing ceremony

Associated PressIlluminated giant pandas roller skate during the closing ceremony Sunday of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The 16-day games ended with an electronic dance party, with performances from K-pop super group EXO and ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Parkland shooting makes Florida the target for gun politics. How far will it go?

Parkland shooting makes Florida the target for gun politics. How far will it go?

TALLAHASSEE A powerful Florida Senate committee is expected to approve a package of bills Monday that are bitterly opposed by the National Rifle Association. That is news. It’s the first time in more than a decade that legislation opposed by the poli...
Updated: 2 hours ago

ChinaAbolishing term limit could allow Xi to stay in powerChina’s Communist Party has cleared the way for President Xi Jinping to stay in power, perhaps indefinitely, by announcing Sunday that it wants to abolish the two-term limit on the presidency ...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Updated: 2 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Sun., Feb. 25, midday:26 359 7773e_SRit32082Sun., Feb. 25, evening:04 021 7148e_SRit11138Fantasy 5Sunday...
Updated: 3 hours ago
In Black Panther, kids finally see themselves starring on screen

In Black Panther, kids finally see themselves starring on screen

Updated: 3 hours ago