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Saudi man pleads guilty in Oklahoma to lying about al Qaeda training

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(Reuters) – A Saudi man pleaded guilty in a federal court in Oklahoma on Friday to visa fraud and lying to the FBI about attending an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in 2000, the U.S. Justice Department said.

Naif Abdulaziz M. Alfallaj, 35, who was arrested in February, faces up to 18 years in prison, the department said in a statement. He will be sentenced in about three months.

Alfallaj’s fingerprints turned up on documents found by the U.S. military at an al Qaeda safe house in Afghanistan, the statement said. The documents included an application to an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, it said.

Alfallaj allegedly first entered the United States in late 2011 on a non-immigrant visa based on his wife’s status as a foreign student, the statement said.

Alfallaj answered several questions on his visa application falsely, including whether he had ever supported terrorist organizations, the department said.

Alfallaj, who lived in Weatherford, Oklahoma, was issued a private pilot’s certificate in November 2016, but it was revoked last year because federal authorities considered him at risk for air piracy or terrorism.

(Reporting by Eric Beech in Washington; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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