MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A former Minnesota college student pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal charge that she tried to help al-Qaida.
Tnuza Jamal Hassan, 22, of Minneapolis, pleaded guilty in U.S District Court to attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. Charges of lying to the FBI and arson will be dismissed when Hassan is sentenced in December.
When Hassan was stopped from flying to Afghanistan in September 2017, prosecutors said she told FBI agents that she wanted to join al-Qaida and marry a fighter, and that she might even wear a suicide belt.
Four months later, Hassan was arrested for allegedly setting fires on her former college campus in St. Paul in what prosecutors called a self-proclaimed act of jihad. No one was hurt in the fires at St. Catherine University. One fire was set in a dormitory that has a day care where 33 children were present.
Hassan was born in the U.S. According to prosecutors, Hassan tried to travel to Afghanistan on Sept. 19, 2017, making it as far as Dubai, United Arab Emirates, before she was stopped because she lacked a visa.
When the agents interviewed Hassan, she admitted she wanted to join al-Qaida, saying she thought she would probably get married but wouldn’t fight, prosecutors said. She allegedly told investigators she guessed she would carry out a suicide bombing if she had to do it but that she wouldn’t do anything in the U.S. because she didn’t know who to target.
Hassan remains in custody. Her attorney, Bob Sicoli, declined comment to The Associated Press on Wednesday.
(© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)