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December 13, 2013

Terry Lee Loewen Planned Airport Bombing For Al Qaeda

A 58-year-old man from Wichita, Kansas, has been arrested for allegedly trying to blow up Wichita Mid-Continent Airport with a car bomb in support of Al Qaeda.tourismairport2.jpg [tourismairport2.jpg]

Terry Lee Loewen is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to damage property and attempting to provide support to Al Qaeda.

According to the criminal complaint, Loewen said he was trying to support Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP), Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, by committing “an act of violent jihad.”

Three Amer­i­can cit­i­zens have attempted to join AQAP in 2013, including Mar­cos Alonso Zea and Justin Kaliebe of Long Island, and Shel­ton Thomas Bell of Florida.

Loewen, an avionics technician who reportedly works at the airport, allegedly made statements online to an undercover FBI agent about downloading terrorist propaganda online and wanting to commit “violent jihad” against the U.S. According to the complaint, he also said:

“As time goes on I care less and less about what other people think of me, or my views of Islam. I have been studying subjects like jihad, martyrdom operations, and Sharia law. I don’t understand how you can read the Qur’an and the sunnah of the Prophet and not understand that jihad and the implementation of Sharia is absolutely demanded of all the Muslim Ummah.”

“One last thing I would like to make clear if I haven’t already – I believe the Muslim who is labeled ‘a radical fundamentalist’ is closer to Allah than the ones labeled ‘moderates.’ Just my opinion; if I’m off base, please set me straight.”

He also indicated that he “considered supporting some of our brothers and sisters in prison,” and has been sending money to the family of Younnus Abdullah Muhammad. Muhammad is the co-founder of Rev­o­lu­tion Mus­lim, the fringe anti-Semitic Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tion based in New York that jus­ti­fied ter­ror­ist attacks and other forms of vio­lence. The arrest of the Revolution Muslim leaders in recent years has led to its demise.

Loewen described Revolution Muslim as “the first website that really helped me understand what obedience to Allah was.”

According to the criminal complaint, he also expressed his admiration of Anwar Al-Awlaki, an American-born Mus­lim cleric who encour­aged attacks against Amer­ica and the West to English-speaking online audi­ences for sev­eral years. Al‐Awlaki was among a growing chorus of Americans residing abroad who used their online pulpits to reach and influence audiences in the U.S. by repackaging ideologies of extreme intolerance and violence into digestible sound bites.

Al-Awlaki’s materials have inspired several American Muslim extremists to carry out terrorist attacks in the U.S. and join terrorist groups overseas. He was killed in a drone strike in Yemen on September 30, 2011.

Loewen, who also goes by Terry L. Lane, reportedly left a letter for his family dated December 11 that said, “By the time you read this I will — if everything went as planned — have been martyred in the path of Allah.”

Described by the U.S. government as “the most active and dangerous” branch of Al Qaeda, AQAP has attempted to carry out multiple attacks against the United States, including at least three failed attacks involving U.S.-bound aviation.

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October 18, 2013

Long Island Arrest Highlights Continuing Lure Of Terror Groups Abroad

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Marcos Alonso Zea arrested for attempting to join Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

A Long Island man was arrested Friday for attempting to join Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The arrest came exactly one week after an Orange County man was arrested for attempting to travel abroad to join Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

Both arrests highlight the continued trend of American citizens joining terrorist groups abroad and the continued allure of Al Qaeda and its affiliates. At least three American citizens or permanent residents have attempted to join AQAP in 2013 alone. And at least nine others have attempted to join foreign terrorist groups this year.

Marcos Alonso Zea, also known as Ali Zea, is charged with conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country, attempting to provide material support to terrorists, attempting to provide material support to AQAP, and obstruction and attempted obstruction of justice.

Zea, a 25-year-old Muslim convert from Brentwood, Long Island, allegedly flew from New York to London with plans to continue from there to the Arabian Peninsula on January 4, 2012. He was detained by customs officials and returned to the United States.

His own plans stymied, Zea allegedly encouraged a co-conspirator from his mosque, 18-year-old high school senior Justin Kaliebe, to make the trip. Zea discussed plans to fight abroad and provided him with money to fund the trip, according to the indictment. Kaliebe was arrested at JFK International Airport on January 21, 2013, and is scheduled to be sentenced December 6, 2013.

Zea’s computer reportedly contained a number of materials designed to encourage radicalization, including copies of Inspire Magazine, AQAP’s English-language periodical, and a video from Al Qaeda in Iraq depicting an attack on a military vehicle.

Since 2007, over 50 Amer­i­can cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents have been arrested or charged in con­nec­tion with attempts to join ter­ror­ist groups abroad, includ­ing Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula.

In addition to Zea, eight others have attempted to join foreign terrorist groups this year. They are:

  • Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen of California, arrested on October 11, 2013 for attempting to join Al Qaeda.
  • Amir Farouq Ibrahim, of Pennsylvania, linked with ISIS and assumed dead in Syria in July 2013.
  • Justin Kaliebe of New York, arrested June 25, 2013 for attempting to join AQAP.
  • Nicole Mans­field of Michigan, killed in Syria in May, 2013, reportedly fighting with Jabhat al Nusrah.
  • Abdella Ahmad Tounisi of Illinios, arrested April 19, 2013 for attempting to join Jabhat al Nusrah.
  • Eric Harroun of Arizona, arrested March 27, 2013, for traveling to Syria to fight with Al Qaeda linked rebels. He pleaded guilty to non-terror-related charges in September, 2013, and was sentenced to time served. That Harroun fought in Syria is uncontested; however, reports differ as to whether he fought with Al Qaeda affiliates.
  • Matthew Aaron Llaneza of California, arrested February 8, 2013, for attempted domestic terrorism and plans to travel to join the Taliban in Afghanistan.
  • Shelton Thomas Bell of Florida, arrested January 29, 2013 for attempting to join AQAP.

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July 22, 2013

Florida Teen, Shelton Thomas Bell, Latest American To Attempt To Join Al Qaeda

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Shelton Thomas bell

The latest American citizen to apparently respond to Al Qaeda’s call by attempting to join the terrorist group is 19-year-old Floridian Shelton Thomas Bell.

Bell, who according to prosecutors attempted to join Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen, has been charged with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to terrorists.

Since 2007, at least 52 American citizens and permanent residents have been arrested or charged for successfully traveling or attempting to travel abroad to reach Al Qaeda affiliate groups. Many joined or attempted to join Al Shabaab in Somalia, while others have received training in Pakistan. More recently, some Amer­i­cans have been attracted to Jab­hat al-Nusrah in Syria.

Bell, reportedly a Muslim convert, “devised a plan to travel to the Arabian Peninsula to join Ansar al Sharia (AAS),” an alias for (AQAP), “and participate in violent armed conflict that he termed ‘jihad,’” according to the federal indictment.

Bell and a juvenile traveled to Jordan September 2012 and made contact with someone who could facilitate their travel to Yemen and introduce them to terrorists, according to the indictment.

The indictment also alleges that between May 2012 and September 2012, Bell and others engaged in physical, firearms, and other training in preparation for what Bell described as “the actions of jihad,” including “a night-time mission” in which they vandalized religious statues at a Jacksonville cemetery.

Bell allegedly also made video and audio recordings for the purpose of soliciting and recruiting others to participate in violent jihad.

Leaders of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida in Jacksonville reportedly notified law enforcement about Bell because they were concerned about conversation he was having about weapons and jihad at their mosque.

AQAP has been described by the U.S. government as “the most active and dangerous” branch of Al Qaeda. The growth of AQAP has led American officials to indicate that Yemen could become Al Qaeda’s next operational and training hub for the group’s militants from around the world.

A key component of AQAP’s operational strategy entails reaching out to English-speaking audiences with its messages and propaganda in order to recruit new members. This material encourages Western audiences to adopt its ideology and carry out attacks against Western interests in the Arabian Peninsula and abroad.

The driving forces behind AQAP’s English-language propaganda machine were Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric, and Samir Khan, an American blogger and propagandist, both of whom were killed in a September 30, 2011 drone strike.

Bell, who worked as a computer repair vendor at a flea market in Jacksonville, is in jail awaiting trial on unrelated grand theft charges.

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