Maalik Alim Jones, 32, entered his plea to three criminal counts before U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan.
"I knew that my actions were a violation of the laws of the United States", he said.
The group, al Shabaab, is fighting to topple Somalia's Western-backed transitional federal government and impose its own rule on the Horn of Africa country. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.
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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.
In total, Jones fought for four years as part of al-Shabaab. Jones admitted to carrying an AK-47 assault rifle "on multiple occasions", as well as rocket propelled grenades (RPG).
The report about the operation in the southern town of Baraawe, about 270 kilometers southwest of this capital, omits if the extremist fighter was a high ranking leader in the organization, whose deactivation is an objective of U.S. air raids. "All that is left is for him to be sentenced for his crimes".
Jones, who has been detained since his arrest in 2015, is scheduled to be sentenced in January, 2018. Accounting for those other charges, Jones faces a sentence of up to life in prison.