On April 10, 2009, a truck laden with explosives pulled up at the gate of a U.S. forward operating base in northern Iraq, and its occupant exchanged gunfire with Iraqi police officers guarding the base and with an American convoy that was leaving through its gate.
Then, in an instant, the truck exploded, leaving a 60-foot crater in the ground and killing five American soldiers.
Federal prosecutors announced on Friday that Faruq Khalil Muhammed ‘Isa has been extradited to the United States from Canada to face charges that he joined in a conspiracy to murder those troops by helping orchestrate the suicide attack.
‘Isa is due to make his initial appearance in federal court in Brooklyn on Saturday, the Justice Department announced.
The case is the latest in a string of terrorism prosecutions being handled under Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, who is awaiting Senate confirmation hearings on her nomination to be the next U.S. attorney general. It’s become increasingly clear that her office has become a fulcrum in the Justice Department’s effort to prosecute alleged terrorists in federal criminal courts.
President Barack Obama made clear again in his State of the Union address this week that he wants to close the military prison at the Naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the Bush administration began holding captives in the war on terrorism as so-called enemy combatants, a sort of legal limbo that has led to the detention of many suspects for years without a trial.
The Obama administration, under Attorney General Eric Holder, also has become increasingly aggressive about arresting and criminally prosecuting those who attack U.S. troops or civilians overseas.
In a statement Friday, Lynch said: “Today’s extradition demonstrates to those who orchestrate violence against our citizens and our soldiers that there is no corner of the globe from which they can hide from the long reach of the law. We will continue to use every available means to bring to justice those who are responsible for the deaths of American servicemen and women who paid the ultimate price in their defense of this nation.”
The American soldiers killed in the 2009 blast at the Forward Operating Base Marez in Mosul, Iraq included: Staff Sergeant Gary Woods, 24, of Lebanon Junction, Ky.; Sgt. First Class Bryan Hall, 32, of Elk Grove, Ca.; Sgt. Edwrad Forrest Jr., 25, St. Louis, Mo., Corp. Jason Pautsch, 20, Davenport, Iowa and Army Private First Class Bryce Gaultier, 22, Cyprus, Ca.