The U.S. military said on Friday it had carried out an air strike in Somalia against an al Qaeda-allied Islamist group and killed one militant, the second such strike this week in which a total of four fighters have died.
Maalik Alim Jones, 32, pleaded guilty to three criminal counts before US District Judge Paul Gardephe Friday, according to the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY.
A Maryland man pleaded guilty Friday to federal terrorism charges in NY after he was accused of fighting on behalf of an al-Qaida-affiliated terror group in Somalia.
According to the charges, Jones left the U.S. in 2001 to join Al-Shabaab. Prosecutors said at the time that Jones, who was born and lived in Maryland, traveled in 2011 to Kenya and then to Somalia, where he was brought to an al Shabaab training camp.
Somali authorities arrested Jones in December 2015 as he was trying to head to Yemen, at which point he was sent back to the United States.
Jones faces sentencing January 25, 2018. Accounting for those other charges, Jones faces a sentence of up to life in prison.
Authorities said Jones trained with the group for three months, reading and interpreting the Koran and learning how to handle weapons, including an AK-47 and rocket-propelled grenades. Over the next four years, Jones received "military-type" training from Al-Shabaab and engaged in armed conflict with the Kenyan Government on behalf of the terrorist organization.