German Prosecutors: Accused US Airmen Killer Debated Terrorism Before Shootings

Posted September 14th, 2011 at 8:50 am (UTC-5)
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German prosecutors have presented evidence that a Kosovo-born man charged with killing two U.S. airmen at Frankfurt Airport harbored anti-American feelings and previously discussed the use of terrorism on the Internet.

Arid Uka is facing two counts of murder for the March 2 slayings of Senior Airman Nicholas Alden and Airman First Class Zachary Cuddeback. Uka also faces three counts of attempted murder for wounding two other airmen and aiming at a third before his gun jammed.

Prosecutors say the 21-year-old Uka, who admitted his guilt on the opening day of his trial last month, was motivated by Islamist websites calling for jihad against U.S. military forces. They say the day before the attack, Uka watched a video he believed showed U.S. soldiers raiding a home in Afghanistan and raping an Afghan girl. The video was actually a scene from an American movie that was taken out of context.

Uka has told the court that the video prompted him to do anything possible to prevent more American soldiers from going to Afghanistan. But prosecutors produced transcripts of statements by Uka to web forums about one year before the March attack. In them, he discussed whether terrorist attacks by Muslims were justified and mentioned martyrdom, prayer rituals and alleged U.S. atrocities in Iraq.

U.S. federal prosecutors have also filed murder charges against Uka, who they say chanted “God is great” in Arabic while he was shooting. U.S. officials believe he acted alone and was not a part of any terrorist group.

If found guilty, Uka faces a possible life sentence. A verdict in the trial is not expected until early 2012.