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June 2, 2014 0

Alleged Brussels Jewish Museum Shooter May Have Fought in Syria

Nemmouche 2

Mehdi Nem­mouche

The sus­pected gun­man in the May 24 attack on the Jew­ish Museum in Brus­sels, Mehdi Nem­mouche, report­edly spent about a year in Syria, where French and Bel­gian offi­cials say he may have fought with the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS), a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion for­merly asso­ci­ated with Al Qaeda.

The con­nec­tion may sub­stan­ti­ate fears that west­ern­ers fight­ing in Syria could return to attempt attacks in their home coun­tries. Nemmouche’s choice to attack a Jew­ish museum may also fur­ther demon­strate the con­nec­tion between ter­ror­ist ide­ol­ogy and anti-Semitism.

Nem­mouche was arrested in France on Fri­day. At the time of his arrest, he was in pos­ses­sion of con­sid­er­able ammu­ni­tion, includ­ing a Kalash­nikov rifle wrapped in a sheet with the ISIS sym­bol and the words “God is great.” He also had a video recorder on which he had appar­ently claimed credit for the attack and said he wanted to “kill Jews” and to “set fire to Brus­sels and fill it with blood.”

A native of France, Nen­mouche is believed to have been rad­i­cal­ized in prison and to have left for Syria only three weeks after his release in 2012. French and Bel­gian offi­cials claim there is evi­dence that he fought with ISIS while he was there.

The shoot­ing in the museum resulted in 3 deaths and 1 per­son injured. It bears resem­blance to a shoot­ing at a Jew­ish school in Toulouse, France in 2012 by Mohamed Merah. Merah, a French cit­i­zen, had spent time with extrem­ists in Afghanistan and Pak­istan before return­ing to France and per­pe­trat­ing the attack.

As many as 3,000 Euro­peans and 100 Amer­i­cans are believed tohave trav­elled to join the con­flict in Syria. This travel is only increas­ing as  groups uti­lize social media and online pro­pa­ganda to recruit followers.

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May 28, 2014 0

Reports Of American Suicide Bomber In Syria

Update — 5/29/2014: U.S. offi­cials have con­firmed that the sui­cide bomb­ing was con­ducted by an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen who grew up in Florida.

News that an Amer­i­can may have been one of four sui­cide bombers involved in an attack in Syria on May 25 con­ducted by Jab­hat al-Nusra (JN), Al Qaeda in Syria, has been cir­cu­lated by var­i­ous extrem­ists on social media over the past two days.syria-abu-hurayra-al-amriki-suicide-bomber

If accu­rate, the attack fur­ther indi­cates the inte­gra­tion of for­eign fight­ers, and specif­i­cally West­ern­ers, with ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions in Syria.

Abu Hurayra Al Amriki would be at least the fourth Amer­i­can rumored to have been killed while fight­ing in Syria, join­ing Nicole Mans­field, Amiir Farouk Ibrahim and a man iden­ti­fied as Abu Dujana al Amriki. An appar­ent image of Abu Hurayra Al Amriki hold­ing a cat and jux­ta­posed to images of the bomb­ing was shared by sev­eral JN sup­ports on Twitter.

He would also be at least the fourth known Amer­i­can to have suc­cess­fully under­taken a sui­cide bomb­ing on behalf of an Al Qaeda linked ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion. The other three, Shirwa Ahmed, Farah Mohamad Beledi and  Abis­dalan Hus­sein Ali, were among a wave of Amer­i­cans who joined Al Shabaab, Al Qaeda in Soma­lia, pri­mar­ily between 2007 and 2012.

The U.S. State Department’s “Think Again, Turn Away” account on Twit­ter, which aims to counter ter­ror­ist sen­ti­ments online, Tweeted: “another life wasted by #alqaeda’s cult of death. Thanks to them #Assad remains in power while Syr­i­ans suf­fer.” U.S. offi­cials, how­ever, have not con­firmed whether or not an Amer­i­can was actu­ally involved in the attack.

Two other Amer­i­cans, Nicholas Teau­sant and U.S. legal per­ma­nent res­i­dent Mohamad Has­san Ham­dan, are known to have attempted to travel to Syria to fight along­side ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions this year. There were sev­eral other Amer­i­cans pub­li­cally iden­ti­fied who joined or attempted to join the con­flict in 2013.

Con­cerns over Amer­i­cans fight­ing in Syria have been increas­ing since the start of the con­flict, with “dozens” believed to have trav­elled there thus far accord­ing to U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cials. Last week, the Jus­tice Depart­ment appointed a spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor to inves­ti­gate indi­vid­u­als trav­el­ling to Syria, and they have long been the sub­ject of high lev­els of scrutiny by law enforcement.

Although casu­alty counts were unavail­able as of this writ­ing, the sui­cide attack report­edly killed or wounded “dozens” of Syr­ian troops. The attack had been directed at Syr­ian army posi­tions in the Idlib province of Syria.

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May 2, 2014 0

Adam Gadahn Issues New Video Threatening the U.S

Adam Gadahn, an Amer­i­can English-language spokesper­son for Al Qaeda, has released a new video call­ing for attacks against the U.S.gadahn-egypt-video

The video, pro­duced by As-Sahab media, the media wing of Al Qaeda’s cen­tral orga­ni­za­tion, is pri­mar­ily directed at Egypt­ian youth, denounc­ing the cur­rent regime and call­ing for the impo­si­tion of Islamist gov­er­nance. Although the video was in Ara­bic, it was pro­duced with Eng­lish subtitles.

The cen­tral por­tion of the video shifted focus to the U.S. Against footage of the Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 attacks, Gadahn stated that the “coup in Egypt has con­firmed the need to con­front Amer­ica…. It is essen­tial to fight Amer­ica. It is essen­tial for every youth in Egypt to strive to emu­late the mar­tyred cham­pion Muham­mad Atta (among the 9/11 hijack­ers) and his mag­nif­i­cent com­pan­ions, who sold them­selves cheaply to Allah for their Ummah’s free­dom, honor, and future. It is essen­tial to wage Jihad against Amer­ica and inflict slaugh­ter on it…”

Gadahn also used the video to place blame for the coup that installed the cur­rent mil­i­tary gov­ern­ment and “crimes against Islam and Mus­lims” on “the Jews and the cru­saders.”  This fol­lows a com­mon theme of includ­ing anti-Semitic tropes in Al Qaeda pro­pa­ganda.

Some indica­tive quotes include:

  • “This crim­i­nal Pharoanic clique [the cur­rent gov­ern­ment] is noth­ing but the pro­tec­tor of the Jews and the agent of the west­ern cru­saders which lives on their hand­outs and bribes.”
  • “Power, force, arms, ammu­ni­tion and lead­er­ship of armies must be in trust­wor­thy Mus­lim hands not in the hands of the sec­u­lar offi­cers and hyp­o­crit­i­cal kigns and emirs who are the friends of the West and pro­tec­tors of the Jews.”

Con­clud­ing footage in the video also included clips of the Boston Marathon bomb­ing, fight­ing in Syria, and ter­ror­ism in Israel, includ­ing a brief video clip of Jews pray­ing at the West­ern Wall, Judaism’s holi­est site, fol­lowed by footage of an explosion.

Adam Gadahn has a long his­tory of using online media to call for attacks on the U.S. In 2011, for exam­ple, he was fea­tured in a video say­ing that, “Mus­lims in the West have to remem­ber that they are per­fectly placed to play an impor­tant and deci­sive part in the jihad against the Zion­ists and Cru­saders and to do major dam­age to the ene­mies of Islam.”

This video adds to the pro­lif­er­a­tion of online media that frames Al Qaeda’s nar­ra­tive in Eng­lish for inter­na­tional con­sump­tion, encour­ag­ing inter­na­tional radicalization.

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