UPDATE 2-Two NY men charged with aiding al Qaeda

* One man accused of meeting al Qaeda members in Yemen

* Pair appeared in Virginia court Friday, to move to N.Y.
(Adds details of court appearance)

By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK, April 30 (BestGrowthStock) – Two New York men have been
charged with conspiracy to provide material support to Osama
bin Laden’s al Qaeda network that included providing computer
expertise and buying seven watches online for the group,
prosecutors said on Friday.

Wesam El-Hanafi, 33, who was born and lived in the New York
City borough of Brooklyn, and Sabirhan Hasanoff, 34, a dual
U.S. and Australian citizen who also lived in Brooklyn, were
accused of performing tasks for al Qaeda in New York, according
to a U.S. District Court indictment.

Prosecutors did not elaborate on tasks the men performed or
the purpose of the Casio watches they purchased.

“Wesam El-Hanafi and Sabirhan Hasanoff conspired to
modernize al Qaeda by providing computer systems expertise and
other goods and services,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in
a statement. “These two New Yorkers, who allegedly pledged
allegiance to al Qaeda, will now be held to account.”

Prosecutors declined to say when and where El-Hanafi and
Hasanoff were arrested. They appeared in federal court in
Virginia on Friday and were detained. The men are expected to
be moved to New York at a later date. They face a maximum
sentence of 15 years in prison if convicted.

Al Qaeda is blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the
World Trade Center in New York that killed almost 3,000 people
when hijacked airliners destroyed the twin towers. Another
hijacked plane hit the Pentagon in Washington and a fourth was
brought down in a Pennsylvania field.

The arrests of El-Hanafi and Hasanoff come just a week
after a second man pleaded guilty in a separate plot to bomb
New York City subways, which U.S. authorities called the most
serious threat to the city since Sept. 11.

El-Hanafi is accused of traveling to Yemen in 2008 and
meeting with al Qaeda members, discussing operational security
matters and accepting tasks to perform for the group.

Several months later El-Hanafi accepted an oath of
allegiance from a third, unidentified, man and also purchased a
subscription for a software program that allowed him to
communicate securely with others over the Internet, according
to prosecutors.

El-Hanafi told the unnamed man to carry out various tasks
for al Qaeda, while Hasanoff told the man not to use his U.S.
passport when traveling because fewer immigration stamps would
make it more valuable to al Qaeda, prosecutors said.

Investing Tools
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Eric Beech)

UPDATE 2-Two NY men charged with aiding al Qaeda