Tunisian man accused of wanting to build terror cell - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Tunisian man accused of wanting to build terror cell

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

A Tunisian man who authorities say had close ties with the Canada train bomb plot suspect was in federal court in New York City on visa fraud charges. Federal prosecutors say he tried to stay here to organize a terror cell.

The plot was shocking when it was revealed by Canadian law enforcement officials last month an Al Qaeda backed terror attack on an Amtrak train going from New York to Toronto.

Canadian authorities arrested two men. Now the U.S. attorney says a the Tunisian man, Ahmed Abbassi, helped radicalize one of the Canadian suspects while he was in New York and was trying to recruit more men to a terror cell for other plots Abassi allegedly falsified a work visa to stay here.

"As alleged, Ahmed Abassi had an evil purpose for seeking to remain in the United States -- to commit acts of terror and develop a network of terrorists here and to use this country as a base to support the efforts of terrorists internationally," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a release.

Prosecutors say Abassi was in contact with an undercover FBI agent while he was in New York, and that there are recordings made of him talking about engaging in terrorist acts in the United States.

"The allegations in this case serve as still another reminder that terrorism has not abated, that we must remain vigilant, and that when we do, terrorist plots against us can be thwarted," NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

Abassi denied the immigration fraud charges during a secret arraignment a week ago, telling the judge, "Your Honor, I am not guilty," the Associated Press reported. 

Abassi's lawyer said that her client "flatly denies the accusations in the indictment."

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