WASHINGTON -- A Tunisian has been extradited to Washington to face federal criminal charges of working with the late Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to set off a suicide bomb at a U.S. military installation in Europe in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, federal law enforcement officials announced Thursday.
Nizar Trabelsi, a former professional football player in Germany, was arrested in Belgium two days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and had been held there the last 12 years on a terrorism-related conviction. He was charged separately in Washington in a 2006 secret indictment, which was unsealed Thursday.
Trabelsi, 43, is charged with conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals outside the U.S., conspiracy and attempt to use weapons of mass destruction, and additional charges of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
According to the indictment, Trabelsi met with Bin Laden several times in the spring of 2001 and agreed to serve as a suicide bomber.
He next traveled to Pakistan and obtained money to “carry out his mission.” Then he rented an apartment in Brussels and purchased chemicals to manufacture a 2,200-pound bomb, the indictment says.
Trabelsi also formed a small terror cell and with his comrades scouted a military facility at night that was used by the U.S. Air Force, the indictment alleges.
He has not entered a plea in the case.