U.S. prosecutors said they have charged a Kenyan man with terrorism-related offences.
The man identified as Cholo Abdi Abdullah is said to have conspired to plan for a 9/11-style aeroplane hijacking on an American target on behalf of the al-Shabaab militant group.
Abdullah, aged 30, was arrested in the Philippines in July 2019 and transferred to the United States on Tuesday to face six federal charges related to alleged terrorism.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges and the judge ruled that he remain in custody pending a hearing in January.
Prosecutors said Abdullah, acting at the direction of an unnamed senior al-Shabaab commander, travelled to the Philippines to enrol in a flight school to train for a possible 9/11-style attack in 2016.
According to prosecutors, between 2017 and 2019, Abdullah attended the flight school on “various occasions” and ultimately completed tests to obtain a pilot’s license.
He also researched how to hijack a commercial airlines flight, including how to breach a locked cockpit door from the cabin, they said.
The US justice department said the Al-Shabaab commander in question was previously responsible for planning a January 2019 attack on a hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, in which more than 20 people were killed, prosecutors said.