Accused airport attacker hit with terrorism charge

Robert Snell

Detroit – Amor Ftouhi, a Tunisian national accused of stabbing a police officer at Bishop International Airport last summer, was charged with a terrorism-related crime Wednesday.

The charge is the first time Ftouhi, 50, has been directly accused of terrorism. Until Wednesday, the Montreal man was facing two charges: interference with airport security and violence at an international airport, a felony punishable by up to life in federal prison.

The indictment filed Wednesday accuses Ftouhi of committing an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries, which also is punishable by up to life in prison.

“This additional terrorism charge against Mr. Ftouhi shows we will — to the fullest extent of the law — vigorously prosecute terrorists who seek to harm the people of Michigan,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said in a statement.

Ftouhi’s court-appointed lawyer did not respond immediately to a message seeking comment Wednesday.

Ftouhi entered the U.S. from Canada to kill government personnel last year, according to the government.

He entered the U.S. after conducting online research into American gun laws and Michigan gun shows, prosecutors allege.

He tried unsuccessfully to purchase a gun, bought a knife and used it on June 20 to stab Bishop Airport police Lt. Jeff Neville, who survived, according to court records.

During the attack, Ftouhi referenced killings in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and yelled “Allahu Akbar, investigators alleged.

Ftouhi later told investigators he was a “soldier of Allah” and that he subscribed to the ideology of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

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