Homegrown Terrorist Convicted, Inspired by Al Qaeda's Anwar al-Awlaki

Brooklyn man arrested in Kosovo after recording martyrdom video.

ByABC News
July 8, 2011, 4:43 PM

July 8, 2011 — -- A New York man who was inspired by al Qaeda internet videos to carry out attacks on U.S. troops abroad was convicted on terrorism charges Thursday.

Betim Kaziu, from Brooklyn, became radicalized in part by watching internet videos featuring Anwar al-Awlaki, one of al Qaeda's most high profile commanders, as well as fighters from Somalia's al Qaeda affiliate, al-Shabaab, according to the FBI.

Kaziu was convicted of several charges including conspiring to commit murder overseas and conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.

According to the government's account, in 2009 Kaziu and another man, Sulejah Hadzovic, traveled from New York to Cairo, Egypt, where they attempted to acquire automatic weapons.

From there, Kaziu considered traveling to Somalia to join al-Shabaab but instead went to Albania where he recorded a martyrdom video of his "last few moments." From Albania, Kaziu traveled to Kosovo where the FBI said he planned to carry out attacks against U.S. troops, but instead was arrested in September 2009. By then, he had already purchased a ticket to travel to Pakistan.

"[Kaziu] made these trips with the full intention of joining a jihadist group to kill U.S. soldiers overseas," Department of Justice spokesperson Dean Boyd told ABC News.

In the midst of their travels, however, his friend Hadzovic got cold feet, returned to the U.S. and eventually became the primary witness in Kaziu's trial where he gave "damning testimony," according to the FBI.

Click Here to Sign Up for Breaking News and Investigation Alerts From The Brian Ross Investigative Unit

Hadzovic testified that the pair wanted to take up arms against the U.S. because they were "upset at what was happening in places like Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo Bay," according to a report by The Associated Press.

Click Here for the Blotter Homepage.