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Saudi citizen living in Oklahoma accused of visa fraud, concealing tie to al-Qaida training camp

By KYLE SCHWAB | The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City | Published: February 7, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY (Tribune News Service) — A Saudi Arabian citizen living in Oklahoma was indicted Tuesday in a visa fraud case, accused, in part, of concealing his involvement with a notorious al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan.

Naif Abdulaziz M. Alfallaj allegedly attended the al-Farooq training camp in September 2000 and completed an application to join. On the form, Alfallaj stated his hobbies included "more training on military matters," according to the indictment.

Al-Farooq was one of the most prominent al-Qaida training camps in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Some of al-Qaida's most notorious leaders and operatives, including several of the hijackers on 9/11, trained at the camp, records show.

Alfallaj, 34, of Weatherford, appeared in Oklahoma City federal court Tuesday dressed in an orange uniform and shackles. By phone, an interpreter translated the arraignment into Arabic.

A federal grand jury charged Alfallaj with two counts of visa fraud and making a false statement involving international terrorism. Each fraud count has a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison. The false statement count has a maximum of eight years.

Alfallaj applied for a nonimmigrant visa in October 2011. In his application, he made false statements claiming he had never engaged or supported terrorist activities, according to the indictment.

He also claimed he doesn't have specialized skills or training with firearms and explosives, according to the indictment.

After the visa was approved, Alfallaj entered the U.S. for the first time in December 2011. Since March 2012, he has lived in Oklahoma with his wife, who is a student visa holder, an FBI special agent reported in a court affidavit.

In October 2016, Alfallaj used the visa to apply for initial training with a private flight school in Oklahoma. He then had to submit various items, including the visa, his passport and fingerprints, to the Transportation Security Administration. He later completed the training in June 2017, the agent reported.

In March, the FBI requested fingerprint analysis be done on some al-Farooq applications discovered during a December 2001 raid of an "Arab Office" in Afghanistan, according to the affidavit. The FBI matched 15 fingerprints to Alfallaj on one of the applications in November, the agent reported.

"The fingerprint matches came from prints that Alfallaj was required to provide when applying for his pilot's license in October 2016," the agent wrote in the affidavit.

The Federal Aviation Administration revoked Alfallaj's private pilot certificate in September after the TSA concluded he posed a risk of air piracy or terrorism, according to the affidavit.

During an interview with the FBI in December, Alfallaj denied ever traveling to Afghanistan or associating with anyone from a foreign terrorist group, the agent reported.

A judge ordered Alfallaj remain detained pending a detention hearing set for next week.

©2018 The Oklahoman
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