On Thursday (03/03/2011), Mohamed Mahmood Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte entered into a packaged plea deal in a Newark federal courtroom.They confessed that they plotted to slay, wound and abduct persons outside the United States in order to join al-Shabab, a designated terrorist organization. Alessa is a 21 year old North Bergen who was born in the United States and his father is a Palestinian immigrant. Almonte is a 24 year old, from Elmwood Park, is a citizen who was born in the Dominican Republic. But the Almonte and Alessa are muslims. The charges might hold a life in prison, however under the terms of the plea agreement, they may they may face 15 to 30 years at their June sentencing.
U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement "Through covert recordings and their admissions today, Alessa's and Almonte's own words confirm they took steps down a deadly path," Thursday. He also said “The defendants planned and trained for a mission that began in their New Jersey neighborhoods and would end with the murder of innocent civilians."This New Jersey case is one of the first to tie both Anwar al-Awlaki, an American cleric and Al Qaeda operative in Yemen, and Omar Hammami, an American-born member of al-Shabab, to a single plot. Prosecutors claim that Alessa and Almonte were motivated while listening to videos from both Awlaki and al-Shabab.The case is also another instance of a new generation of digital Islamic wars, who take their motivation from the web and do not have direct private contact with Islamic activist.