American Airlines mechanic allegedly had ISIS connections

The American Airlines mechanic arrested for sabotaging a flight earlier this month in Florida was found to have connections to the Islamic State, authorities said.

Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, a 60-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Iraq, was ordered held without bail during a Wednesday hearing in Miami federal court.

Prosecutors revealed that agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation found ISIS-related videos on Alani’s cell phone, which shows graphic murders.

Alani allegedly told someone he hoped Allah would use his "divine powers" to hurt non-Muslims, and had traveled to Iraq, where he has family, in March, prosecutors claimed. When he was arrested, he failed to acknowledge the trip to investigators, authorities said.

Prosecutors also noted how Alani’s brother lives in Iraq and also possibly has ties to the terrorist group.

The mechanic, who has worked for the airline since 1988, had recently wired $700 to someone in Iraq, prosecutors said. He has since been terminated from the company, an American Airlines spokesperson told FOX Business.

"You may be very sympathetic to terrorists," U.S. Magistrate Judge Chris McAliley told Alani at Wednesday’s hearing. "That's very disconcerting."

Alani, who has no prior criminal record, is accused of intentionally tampering with a navigation system inside a Boeing 737 in July before the plane departed from Miami International Airport en route to Nassau.

He allegedly stuck a piece of Styrofoam inside the plane's nose, inturn disabling the equipment meant to analyze airspeed, and take other measurements.

The plane, carrying 150 passengers and airline crew, ended up returning to the gate before taking off after the pilot noticed an error message in the cockpit. No one was hurt.

He was arrested on Sept. 6 and was charged with "willfully damaging, destroying or disabling an aircraft," authorities said.

Alani later acknowledged tampering with the plane but told authorities he did so because he was seeking more overtime opportunities.

"Out of my evil side, I wanted to do something," he said, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Medetis.

He did, in fact, work overtime to resolve the plane's issue.

Following his arrest, American Airlines Senior Vice President David Seymour wrote a letter about the company's "commitment to safety."

Alani's attorney, federal public defender Christian Dunham, said technology built into the plane would have kept it safe to fly.


"We don't think they are going to be able to prove he intentionally put people in danger," Dunham said. "The plane would have been fine to fly."

Alani is due back in court Friday.

The Associated Press and Fox New's Phil Keating contributed to this story.