The sabotage of American Airlines flight raises deep concerns as the mechanic who sabotaged flight to Bahamas has been linked to the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group by prosecutors in the United States. The 60 year-old Iraqi born, Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani was held without bail after prosecutors found him to have a brother affiliated with Islamic state, while also possessing IS-related propaganda on his mobile.
American Airlines Mechanic sabotages flight
On 17 July, American Airlines flight 737 was scheduled to take off from Miami International Airport for the Bahamas. The plane had left the gate and reached the runway for the takeoff. When the pilots began powering up the plane, they saw an error message. alerting them to a malfunction in the navigation system that tracks speed, nose direction and other critical flight information. The pilots had no choice but to abort the takeoff. When mechanics showed up to inspect the navigation system, they found a small piece Styrofoam glued to the ‘air data module’, an integral part of the system. Later, officials reviewed security footage from the incident and caught a man driving up to the plane and appearing to work near the affected area for approximately seven minutes. Alani’s co-workers were able to identify Alani in the video, as they say he walks with a distinctive limp. Alani was later arrested on 5 September and confessed to tampering with the air data module of Boeing 737.
Mechanic who sabotaged flight reveals his intention
Investigators pressed Alani to find out why he had taken deliberate action to sabotage the flight. The Iraqi mechanic was upset about ongoing union contract disputes that had been dragging on for many months. As labor union negotiations with American Airlines had been recently stalled, he was experiencing financial issues. So, in order to get some extra money, Alani’s end goal was “to cause a delay or have the flight cancelled in anticipation of obtaining overtime work.” Alani revealed that he meant no harm and just wanted to create more overtime to lessen his financial hardship owing to the contract disputes.
What are the alleged ISIS links?
The 60-year-old mechanic was held without bail after prosecutors argued he presented a flight risk. Though he was not charged with a terrorism-related crime, investigators found a “disturbing” and violent “ISIS video,” which Alani had sent to an unnamed recipient, as well as a money transfer of $700 to someone in Iraq. Alani had stored videos on his cell phone of ISIS murders and had made calls wishing for Allah to use “divine powers” to harm non-Muslims. Also, the US prosecutors informed the court that Alani had a brother in Iraq linked with IS and who received funding from him.
American Airlines has taken this matter very seriously. Whereas, Alani’s case is not the only time where employees have illegally caused flights to be delayed or canceled, the airline now looks forward for negotiations with the labor unions on September 16. The accused mechanic is scheduled for arraignment for this charge. If Alani is convicted, he could face up to 20 years imprisonment.