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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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April 25, 2014 1

Revolution Muslim Leader Sentenced To 2.5 Years For Threatening Jews

Yousef al-Khattab, the co-founder and for­mer leader of Rev­o­lu­tion Mus­lim (RM) was sen­tenced today to 2.5 years in prison on charges of threat­en­ing Jews and Jew­ish institutions.yousef-al-khattab-revolution-muslim-sentenced-prison

RM, a fringe anti-Semitic Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tion that jus­ti­fied ter­ror­ist attacks and other forms of vio­lence for many years, was mostly active in New York until the end of 2010, after which it was shut down and began oper­at­ing as Islam Pol­icy.

Al-Khattab’s sen­tenc­ing makes him the last of RM’s lead­ers to be imprisoned.

Al-Khattab, a.k.a. Joseph Leonard Cohen, cofounded RM in 2007 with Younes Abdul­lah Muham­mad, and served as the group’s amir (leader) and “chief exec­u­tive offi­cer” until Decem­ber 2009, when he announced that he was mov­ing to Tetouan, Morocco.

Al-Khattab’s threats against the Jew­ish com­mu­nity on the RM site were both exten­sive and shock­ing. They included a video encour­ag­ing view­ers to seek out the lead­ers of Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tion chap­ters in the U.S. and “deal with them directly at their homes;” direc­tions to spe­cific Jew­ish facil­i­ties along­side a link to a man­ual for con­struct­ing and using explo­sive devices and a mes­sage encour­ag­ing read­ers to “make EVERY attempt to reach these peo­ple and teach them the mes­sage of Islam;” and a poem list­ing ways that Jews can be hurt includ­ing throw­ing “liq­uid drain cleaner in their faces” and burn­ing “their flam­ma­ble sukkos while they sleep.”

Although it is no longer active, the RM site con­tin­ues to influ­ence home­grown extrem­ists. Terry Lee Loewen, who attempted to bomb the Wichita Mid-Continent Air­port in Kansas in Decem­ber 2013, claimed to have been influ­enced by the site and allegedly had been send­ing money to the fam­ily of Younes Abdul­lah Muham­mad.

Addi­tional home­grown ter­ror­ists asso­ci­ated with the RM web­site, YouTube chan­nel and asso­ci­ated online forums have includ­ed Zachary Chesser, Samir KhanJose PimentelCar­los Eduardo Almonte, Mohamed Mah­mood Alessa, and Colleen LaRose (“Jihad Jane”).

ADL recently released a report explor­ing the influ­ence of online extrem­ism, includ­ing detailed infor­ma­tion on RM’s impact.

Yousef Al-Khattab was born in New York where he was raised as an obser­vant Jew. He later lived in Israel.  He claims that he con­verted to Islam fol­low­ing a series of online con­ver­sa­tions focus­ing on rejec­tion of Judaism and hatred of Jews.

Al-Khattab expressed remorse in court and claims to have denounced his past views, and reg­u­larly posts rejec­tions of them on Face­book and Twit­ter. This rep­re­sents a change from as recently as Feb­ru­ary 2012, when al-Khattab released a 20-minute video on YouTube express­ing his belief that he will be arrested and defend­ing the state­ments he has issued online over the years.

Today’s sen­tenc­ing fol­lows al-Khattab’s Octo­ber 31, 2013 guilty plea.

The other lead­ers of RM, You­nis Abdul­lah Muham­mad and Zachary Chesser, were sen­tenced to prison in 2012 and 2011 respectively.

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