A Pennsylvania woman known as “Jihad Jane” pleaded guilty on Tuesday to plotting to kill a Swedish cartoonist, providing material support to terrorists and other criminal charges, the US Justice Department said.
Colleen LaRose, at a federal hearing in Philadelphia, admitted her role in a plot with others to kill the cartoonist, who had depicted the Prophet Mohammed in a way that is offensive to Muslims.
LaRose, 47, who has been in US custody for more than a year, could be sent to prison for life when she is sentenced.
Her sentencing has been set for March 3.
Justice Department prosecutors said LaRose, who is from Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, used online pseudonyms such as “Jihad Jane,” “Fatima LaRose,” “ExtremeSister4Life” and “SisterOFTerror.”
They said she used multiple e-mail and YouTube accounts, other Web sites and various online usernames to publish violent jihadist literature and videos, to raise funds for militants and recruit others.
LaRose initially pleaded not guilty in March last year after an unsealed federal grand jury indictment alleged that she recruited men online to wage “violent jihad” in South Asia and Europe.
“Today’s guilty plea, by a woman from suburban America who plotted with others to commit murder overseas and to provide material support to terrorists, underscores the evolving nature of the threat we face,” said David Kris, assistant US attorney general for national security.
According to the indictment, LaRose told coconspirators her appearance as a blond white woman would allow her to avoid detection as an Islamic terrorist.
LaRose traveled in 2009 to Europe where she planned to train with jihadists and find and kill the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, according to the indictment.
The charges against her became public in March after the arrest of seven other people in Ireland in connection with a suspected plot to kill Vilks.