A 19-year-old Florida man attempted to join al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, according to the Department of Justice, and so faces 11 more years in prison than he has been alive.
“[Shelton Thomas] Bell devised a plan to travel to the Arabian Peninsula and join Ansar Al-Sharia, an alias for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and participate in violent armed conflict which he termed, ‘jihad,' ” according to DOJ.
“AAS has taken responsibility for multiple attacks on Yemeni forces, including a suicide bombing during a parade in May 2012, that killed more than 100 Yemeni soldiers and a series of armed assaults in March 2012, killing more than 100 people, including Yemeni soldiers,” DOJ said.
The Libyan terrorist group that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans during the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi also goes by the name Ansar Al-Sharia.
Bell also tried to recruit other teenagers to terrorism. “The indictment alleges that between May 2012 and September 2012, Bell and others engaged in physical, firearms and other training in preparation for armed conflict in the Middle East, which Bell described as ‘the actions of jihad,’” DOJ said.
“Bell allegedly solicited other individuals, including juveniles, to travel overseas with him in furtherance of this conspiracy. Bell made video and audio recordings intended to be distributed to others once he arrived in the Middle East, for the purpose of soliciting and recruiting others there to participate in violent jihad.
“In September 2012, Bell and a juvenile traveled to Amman, Jordan and made contact with an individual who could facilitate their travel to Yemen to participate in violent jihad.”
Bell currently sits in a county jail “on unrelated charges,” DOJ said. He faces 30 years in prison for “conspiring and attempting to provide material support to terrorists.”