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December 12, 2012 0

Shabaab Spokesman’s “Close Friend” Arrested

Two Amer­i­can cit­i­zens resid­ing in Alabama were arrested yes­ter­day in Geor­gia on sus­pi­cion of terrorism-related activity.

Randy “Rasheed” Wil­son was arrested in Atlanta attempt­ing to board a flight to Morocco. Wil­son allegedly claimed to be a close friend of Omar Ham­mami, the Alabama native who became the pub­lic face of Al Shabaab, the Al Qaeda-affiliated Somali ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion. His co-conspirator, Moham­mad Abukhdair, was arrested at a bus sta­tion en route to Canada from where he report­edly planned to join Wil­son.  Both were charged with con­spir­ing to pro­vide mate­r­ial sup­port to ter­ror­ists in an Alabama fed­eral court on Monday.

Accord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Wil­son and Abukhdair expressed their admi­ra­tion for rad­i­cal American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and Osama bin Laden, as well as repeat­ing their com­mit­ment to carry out vio­lent jihad, to an under­cover FBI employee.  They even turned over a cache of jihadist pro­pa­ganda, includ­ing Awlaki lec­tures, to the under­cover employee for destruc­tion. Wil­son, who is 25, appar­ently believed that “one way or another everyone’s gonna have to fight… there’s no deed bet­ter than jihad,” accord­ing to the tran­scripts of recorded con­ver­sa­tions sub­mit­ted to the court.

Wil­son had pre­vi­ously report­edly con­spired with another mutual friend of Hammami’s (who later became a con­fi­den­tial infor­mant) to travel to Soma­lia to join Al Shabaab. Abukhdair had been detained by Egypt­ian author­i­ties on sus­pi­cion of involve­ment in ter­ror­ist activ­ity and was deported back to the United States.  He appar­ently admit­ted to the under­cover FBI employee that he had jihadist mate­r­ial on his lap­top at the time and believed that “Allah pro­tected him” because Egypt­ian intel­li­gence had not found it.

The two men, who met online in 2010, sup­pos­edly dis­cussed sev­eral pos­si­ble des­ti­na­tions, includ­ing trav­el­ing to Soma­lia via Sudan, where they report­edly expected spe­cial treat­ment because of Wilson’s rela­tion­ship with Ham­mami. Abukhdair alter­na­tively pro­posed that they carry out attacks in the United States because he feared he would not be allowed to travel inter­na­tion­ally after being turned away from a flight to Jor­dan ear­lier this year.  Accord­ing to the charges, Abukhdair allegedly sug­gested engag­ing in hostage-taking oper­a­tions in the U.S. and demand­ing the release of Mus­lim ter­ror­ists being held in Amer­i­can pris­ons in exchange.

The court doc­u­ments assert that Wil­son and Abukhdair made def­i­nite travel arrange­ments to go to Mau­ri­ta­nia via Morocco in Octo­ber. The two also report­edly dis­cussed trav­el­ing to Mali from Mau­ri­ta­nia where Islamic mil­i­tants are active in the north of the country.

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November 20, 2012 0

Militant Organizations Weigh In On Operation Pillar Of Defense

Has­san Nas­ral­lah speaks about Oper­a­tion Pil­lar of Defense

In response to Israel’s mil­i­tary oper­a­tion against key Hamas and Islamic Jihad tar­gets in Gaza, Hezbol­lah, Al Shabaab and the Tal­iban have issued state­ments con­demn­ing Israel and Jews for the renewed violence.

Al Shabaab, Al Qaeda’s branch in Soma­lia, has con­demned “in the strongest pos­si­ble terms, the sav­age Jew­ish assault on the inno­cent Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion of Gaza.” Al Shabaab issued a state­ment on Twit­ter call­ing “on all Mus­lims, par­tic­u­larly those liv­ing near Gaza, to answer the call of the oppressed & come to the aid of their brothers.”

Although Al Shabaab is geo­graph­i­cally removed from the con­flict, it has pre­vi­ously declared an “open bat­tle” against Jew­ish inter­ests in Africa and against Israel, which it has described as the “oppress­ing Zion­ist entity.” In Novem­ber 2009, it announced the estab­lish­ment of Al Quds Brigade, a mil­i­tary unit specif­i­cally tasked with attack­ing Israel and free­ing “Islamic holy places” from the Israelis.

Al Shabaab appears to be the only affil­i­ate of Al Qaeda to have issued a pub­lic state­ment on the con­flict so far. Since mes­sages from the senior Al Qaeda lead­er­ship rou­tinely take time to reach the pub­lic, offi­cial state­ments are likely to be made in the com­ing weeks.

Hezbol­lah, the Lebanese For­eign Ter­ror­ist Orga­ni­za­tion (FTO), has also con­demned Israeli actions and expressed its sup­port for the Pales­tin­ian mil­i­tant fac­tions via its satel­lite tele­vi­sion sta­tion, Al-Manar. While Hezbol­lah has not yet entered the fray, Lebanese secu­rity forces report that they dis­man­tled two rock­ets aimed at Israel from south­ern Lebanon on Monday.

Has­san Nas­ral­lah, Hezbollah’s leader, encour­aged Arabs to “open bor­ders to Gaza and deliver more mis­siles to the resis­tance,” adding that “Arab coun­tries are required to sup­port and arm Gaza and not to work as inter­me­di­aries between the Israeli enemy and Gaza.” Nas­ral­lah also said “the Zion­ists returned to their crim­i­nal nature with killing large num­bers of chil­dren, women and civilians.”

Hezbollah’s Al Manar also reported on state­ments made by Ziad al-Nakhala, the Deputy Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of PIJ, that “the weapons which the resis­tance uses to fight, includ­ing those of Hamas, are Iran­ian weapons, from the first bul­let to the mis­sile; even the locally man­u­fac­tured ones are Iranian.”

The Tal­iban in Afghanistan issued a state­ment con­demn­ing “the bru­tal attacks on the land of Pales­tine.” The mes­sage calls on “the Islamic peo­ples and espe­cially the lead­ers of the Islamic world… to take a stand… to put an end to the Israeli injus­tices.” The state­ment also high­lights Amer­i­can sup­port for Israel, which it claims demon­strates “sup­port for inter­na­tional terrorism.”

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August 10, 2012 0

Kenyan Al Qaeda Supporters’ Magazine Takes On Jews And Obama

A pre­dom­i­nantly Swahili-language online ter­ror­ist mag­a­zine, appar­ently writ­ten by Kenyan sup­port­ers of the Somali-based Al Qaeda affil­i­ate Al Shabaab, fea­tures English-language arti­cles that describe Jews as “the worst enemy of Islam,” as well as a “Wanted Dead or Alive” poster of Pres­i­dent Barak Obama.

Screen­shot from Gaidi Mtaani article

The mag­a­zine, titled Gaidi Mtaani, roughly trans­lated as “Ter­ror­ism Street,” is replete with the graph­ics and lay­out rem­i­nis­cent of Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula’s English-language ter­ror­ist mag­a­zine, Inspire. Two issues have been released since April 2012.

The Eng­lish arti­cles repeat­edly describe Kenya’s mil­i­tary incur­sion into Soma­lia to com­bat Al Shabaab as “a clear man­i­fes­ta­tion of hatred of Mus­lims” and part of “America’s global war on Islam.”  The mag­a­zine claims the objec­tive of this Amer­i­can proxy war is to “Crush Islam or Islamic Renaissance.”

The mag­a­zine casts “the Zion­ist with their Amer­i­can part­ners” as the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the “cru­sade” in Soma­lia and crit­i­cizes the Kenyan pres­i­dent for trav­el­ing to Israel to secure Israeli coop­er­a­tion for coun­tert­er­ror­ism efforts.  Although the Eng­lish arti­cles do not directly threaten Israeli or Jews, Israeli inter­ests had pre­vi­ously been tar­geted by Al Qaeda in Kenya, includ­ing an attempt to shoot down an Israeli air­liner and an attack on an Israeli-owned resort in 2002.

The authors warn that they will not “dif­fer­en­ti­ate between civil­ians and com­bat­ants” and call on Kenya’s cit­i­zens to “reflect on the mag­ni­tude of what is yet to come,” cit­ing the 1998 bomb­ing of the U.S. embassy in Kenya that killed over 200 people.

Al Shabaab and its sup­port­ers have been blamed for repeated grenade and gun attacks in Kenya since Kenya began mil­i­tary oper­a­tions in Soma­lia last October.

The Mus­lim Youth Cen­ter, a Kenyan orga­ni­za­tion sup­port­ive of Al Shabaab, has pro­moted the mag­a­zine via its Twit­ter account and blog, which was taken down shortly after the mag­a­zine was advertised.

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