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November 19, 2013 0

ADL’s Terrorism Update Focuses On How FTOs Attract American Recruits

The Novem­ber edi­tion of Ter­ror­ism Update, ADL’s newslet­ter pro­vid­ing news and analy­sis on inter­na­tional ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions and their fol­low­ers in the U.S., is now avail­able to our subscribers.

The fea­ture arti­cle focuses on Al Shabaab, the Al Qaeda affil­i­ate orga­ni­za­tion in Soma­lia, and its capac­ity to attract Amer­i­can recruits to its cause. Al Shabaab claimed that three Amer­i­cans par­tic­i­pated in the group’s deadly attack this Sep­tem­ber on the West­gate Mall in Nterrorism-update-subscribe-adlairobi, Kenya, and nearly 50 other Amer­i­can cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents have either trav­elled to Soma­lia or have oth­er­wise aided the ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion since 2007.

The Pro­file in Ter­ror fea­tures Omar Ham­mami, an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen from Alabama who once served as a pri­mary English-language recruiter for Al Shabaab before he was appar­ently killed by other Al Shabaab mem­bers on Sep­tem­ber 13, 2013.

This edi­tion of Ter­ror­ism Update also includes infor­ma­tion on a recent terror-related arrest in North Car­olina, which under­scores a con­tin­ued trend of Amer­i­cans attempt­ing to join ter­ror­ist groups in the Syr­ian con­flict, as well as arrests in New York and Cal­i­for­nia.

An update on one of the lead­ers of Rev­o­lu­tion Mus­lim, the fringe anti-Semitic Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tion based in New York that jus­ti­fied ter­ror­ist attacks and other forms of vio­lence against non-Muslims, is also high­lighted in this edi­tion, as is ADL’s col­lec­tion of resources on Inspire Mag­a­zine, the English-language pro­pa­ganda mag­a­zine pro­duced by Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Peninsula.

Read­ers can sub­scribe to the ADL Ter­ror­ism Update to auto­mat­i­cally receive the bi-monthly newsletter.

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October 18, 2013 0

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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June 25, 2013 0

’93 Landmark Plot Foreshowed Domestic Terror Threat

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Omar Abdel Rahman

Yes­ter­day marked the 20th anniver­sary of the arrest of eight fol­low­ers of rad­i­cal Egypt­ian cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel Rah­man for con­spir­ing to carry out a cam­paign of ter­ror­ism against New York City land­marks and officials.

The arrests not only fore­shad­owed efforts to attack New York City in the years since 1993 — most hor­rif­i­cally on Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 — but also how ter­ror­ists link their oppo­si­tion to Amer­ica with their hatred of Jews and Israel.

The major land­marks that were tar­geted in the 1993 plot included the United Nations Head­quar­ters, the Lin­coln Tun­nel, the Hol­land Tun­nel, the George Wash­ing­ton Bridge and the FBI office. Notably, the plot­ters also dis­cussed attack­ing New York’s dia­mond dis­trict, an area largely pop­u­lated by Jew­ish busi­ness­men, which, accord­ing to one them, would be like “hit­ting Israel itself.”

The arrest came four months after a car bomb­ing at Tower One of the World Trade Cen­ter in New York City killed six peo­ple and wounded more than 1,000 oth­ers. Ramzi Yousef, the mas­ter­mind behind the attack, first planned to bomb Jew­ish neigh­bor­hoods in Brook­lyn, but set­tled on the World Trade Cen­ter because “the major­ity of peo­ple who work in the World Trade Cen­ter are Jews,” accord­ing to Abdul Rah­man Yasin, a co-conspirator in the attack.

In the 20 years since the foiled land­marks plot and first World Trade Cen­ter bomb­ing, anti-Semitic and anti-Israel ide­olo­gies remain a core fea­ture in the pro­pa­ganda dis­trib­uted by ter­ror­ist organizations.

For exam­ple, every issue of Al Qaeda’s Inspire mag­a­zine, which has influ­enced numer­ous inter­na­tional and domes­tic extrem­ists, includ­ing the Boston Marathon Bombers, has been sat­u­rated with anti-Jewish and anti-Israel nar­ra­tives. The abil­ity for Al Qaeda to dis­sem­i­nate such pro­pa­ganda online and recruit would-be Jihadists around the world was vir­tu­ally unheard on in June 1993.al-qaeda-new-york-threat

But while the com­mu­ni­ca­tion and recruit­ment has sig­nif­i­cantly changed, efforts to attack New York remain unchanged, as do the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel moti­va­tions. Sev­eral post-9/11 plots and con­spir­a­cies tar­get­ing Jews have taken place around the coun­try and in New York in par­tic­u­lar. For example:

  • In May 2011, Ahmed Fer­hani, a legal res­i­dent from Alge­ria, and Moham­mad Mam­douh, a nat­u­ral­ized U.S. cit­i­zen of Moroc­can decent, were arrested for plot­ting to attack a syn­a­gogue in New York City in order to advance their rad­i­cal ide­o­log­i­cal goals. Dur­ing his sen­tenc­ing, Fer­hani said, “I repeat­edly discussed…my anger towards Jews based on what I believed and per­ceived to be their mis­treat­ment of Mus­lims through­out the world. I intended to cre­ate chaos and send a mes­sage of intim­i­da­tion and coer­cion to the Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion of New York City, warn­ing them to stop mis­treat­ing Mus­lims.” New York Police Com­mis­sioner Ray­mond Kelly said Fer­hani planned to grow out his beard in order to look “more like a Jew” and enter a syn­a­gogue more easily.
  • Zarein Ahmedzay, a nat­u­ral­ized U.S. cit­i­zen from Afghanistan, admit­ted in fed­eral court that he and two other New York­ers planned to det­o­nate home­made explo­sives on New York City sub­way lines dur­ing the days fol­low­ing the eighth anniver­sary of the Sep­tem­ber 11 ter­ror attacks. While enter­ing his guilty plea, Ahmedzay stated that “the real ene­mies of this coun­try are the ones destroy­ing this coun­try from within” and con­demned “a spe­cial group of Zion­ist Jews” who want to “estab­lish a per­ma­nent shadow gov­ern­ment in the United States of America.”
  • A sim­i­lar plot occurred in 2009, when four men, includ­ing three Amer­i­can Mus­lim con­verts, planned to attack syn­a­gogues in the Bronx and a mil­i­tary base in New­burgh, in response to per­ceived Amer­i­can actions against Mus­lims around the world. The men planted what they believed to be bombs in cars out­side of the Riverdale Tem­ple and the nearby Riverdale Jew­ish Cen­ter.  In a con­ver­sa­tion with an under­cover infor­mant, one of the plot­ters, James Cromi­tie, stated his desire to “destroy” the Jews. “The worst brother in the whole Islamic world is bet­ter than 10 bil­lion Yahudi (Jews),” Cromi­tie stated.  “With no hes­i­ta­tion, I will kill 10 Yahudis.”
  • In 2007, Rus­sell Defre­itas, a nat­u­ral­ized U.S. cit­i­zen from Guyana, and three other men were arrested for plot­ting to attack New York’s John F. Kennedy Inter­na­tional Air­port. The men planned the attack in part because they wanted to take revenge on the U.S. for its diplo­matic rela­tion­ship with Israel. Defre­itas later report­edly told an infor­mant that Mus­lims “incur the wrath of the world while Jews get a pass,” and that he “wanted to do some­thing to get those bas­tards.” Court doc­u­ments have also alleged that Defre­itas had sug­gested tar­get­ing a nearby Jew­ish school or a pre­dom­i­nately Jew­ish neighborhood.
  • In 2004, Amer­i­can cit­i­zen James Elshafay and Sha­hawar Matin Siraj, a Pak­istani who was in the U.S. ille­gally, plot­ted to bomb New York’s Her­ald Square sub­way sta­tion. In con­ver­sa­tions secretly recorded by an under­cover infor­mant, Elshafay talked about his hatred of “Zion­ists” and his sol­i­dar­ity with the Pales­tini­ans, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments. The men also watched ter­ror­ist videos at the book­store where Siraj worked, and Siraj gave Elshafay books that claimed the Jews were con­spir­ing to take over the world’s economy.

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