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Southern California man gets 13 years for planning to help al Qaeda

(Reuters) - A Southern California man was sentenced to 13 years in federal prison on Monday after pleading guilty to terrorism charges, the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles said.

Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen, who told undercover FBI officers he wanted to go to Pakistan to train al Qaeda forces in preparation for an ambush of coalition soldiers, was arrested last fall at a bus station in Orange County, on his way to Mexico and then Pakistan with a false passport, U.S. Attorney André Birotte, Jr., said in a news release.

Nguyen, 25, who lives in Garden Grove southeast of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty last year to one count of attempting to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization, Birotte's office said.

The FBI said Nguyen admitted to traveling to Syria in 2012 and bragging on social media that he had a "confirmed kill" while there.

He told an undercover FBI agent posing as an al Qaeda recruiter that he would go to Pakistan to provide firearms training to 30 al Qaeda fighters, the U.S. attorney said.

In addition to the false passport, Nguyen, who also used the name Hasan Abu Omar Ghannoum, had a computer hard drive with more than 180 firearms training videos on it.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein)

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