A 40-year-old Yemeni, who fought US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, pleaded guilty in New York Tuesday to conspiring to murder Americans and to supporting Al-Qaeda, prosecutors said.
Saddiq al-Abbadi, who was arrested with an alleged co-conspirator in Saudi Arabia on a US warrant, now faces a maximum life sentence in an American jail.
According to court papers, Abbadi left Yemen for Iraq to fight against US troops from late 2005 to early 2007.
In early 2008, he traveled to northwestern Pakistan to fight for Al-Qaeda before slipping across the border into Afghanistan to fight US troops that summer.
Abbadi also used his connections to help an American from Long Island -- who has testified against him -- to join Al-Qaeda.
Bryant Neal Vinas, who also traveled to Pakistan, has been accused of plotting to attack the Long Island Rail Road in New York.
Prosecutors said Abbadi pleaded guilty to conspiring to murder Americans, providing and conspiring to provide material support to Al-Qaeda and using a machine gun in furtherance of those crimes.
"The defendant was a high-level Al-Qaeda operative with ties to the terrorist group's senior leadership in both Pakistan and Yemen," said Kelly Currie, acting US attorney for the eastern district of New York.
"We stand resolute in our commitment to bring to justice those who would try to harm members of our military or who assist Al-Qaeda's efforts to kill Americans at home or abroad," he added.