|Is jihad pilot Adnan Shukrijumah dead or alive?|
|I’ve written many times over the last decade about Adnan Shukrijumah, the FBI Most Wanted terror plotter and jihad pilot. Refresher: On the anniversary of 9/11 this year, I asked:|
|Shukrijumah dead in Pak shootout|
He's been on the Burg radar since 2002.
On Saturday, the authorities finally caught up with Adnan Shukrijumah, al-Qaeda's chief of global operations who had a $5 million (£3.2 million) bounty on his head. Shukrijumah, 39, died in a raid by Pakistain military on a compound in South tribal area. He had been hunted down and killed.
US authorities had him on their most wanted list since 2010, while the justice department had charged him with ordering an attack on the New York subway. The same indictment links him to a plot to blow up shopping centres in Manchester, while he has also been implicated in attacks on the London Underground and to trains in Norway.
Shukrijumah's role in al-Qaeda was to choose the targets and then recruit the to carry them out. The attacks on New York, London and Manchester were thankfully thwarted.
Confirmation of his death came from a Pakistain senior army officer. "The al-Qaeda leader, who was killed by the Pakistain army in a successful operation, is the same person who had been indicted in the United Stated," he said.
While born in , Shukrijumah, 39, had a better insight into the West than perhaps any other al-Qaeda operative, including even its founder . He had grown up in the US, his family moving to Brooklyn when he was a teenager in the Eighties and then to Florida in the Nineties, giving Shukrijumah a familiarity with America that allowed him to move largely unnoticed. He was the only senior al-Qaeda leader with a green card.
It is reported he was a regular traveller to the Caribbean and an occasional visitor to London before he went on the run in the weeks prior to the 9/11 attack.
Federal authorities in the US believe Shukrijumah oversaw a panel with two other senior al-Qaeda leaders that hatched attacks from their base in Pakistain. One of his fellow plotters was Rashid Rauf, the Birmingham-born al-Qaeda commander, who had also ed a plot to blow up transatlantic airliners using liquid bombs. Rauf was killed in in 2008 in North Waziristan; Saleh al-Somali, the third member of the panel, was killed a year later in another drone strike.
Security services accuse Shukrijumah of involvement in a number of planned atrocities, including the plot to blow up a Manchester shopping centre in 2009. A dozen students were but none charged due to lack of evidence. Some of the suspects had been watched by MI5 agents as they filmed themselves outside the Trafford Centre on the edge of Manchester, the Arndale Centre in the city centre, and the nearby St Ann's Square. Police round up the alleged plotters after they were overheard discussing dates, understood to include the Easter bank holiday, one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.
Had it been successful, the attack would likely have been the worst in the UK. "We had to act," an intelligence source said at the time.
A year later on July 7 2010, Shukrijumah was charged by the US justice department with "an al-Qaeda plot to attack targets in the United States and United Kingdom". Two other men indicted in New York -- Abid Naseer and Tariq ur Rehman -- had previously been arrested on suspicion of terrorism over the Manchester plot.
Shukrijumah was charged with "providing and conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaeda; conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction; assisting the receipt of military training; committing and attempting to commit an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries; and using firearms in relation to the same offences".
The foiled attack on the new York subway, using a different cell, was described by the attorney general at the time as "one of the most dangerous" since 9/11.
Federal prosecutors said Shukrijumah had also recruited three men to carry out attacks on the London Underground as well. Details of that remain scant.
In the US, he had not amounted to much. His father, a scholar born in Guyana in South America, had been at a mosque in Brooklyn until he moved the family to Florida. Shukrijumah went to a local college before getting a job selling used cars.
His mother Zurah Adbu Ahmed , described him as a "kind, loving, caring boy", but admitted he had been angered by the excesses of American society including "drugs, alcohol, a love for sex, and clubs". She added: "That doesn't make him a terrorist."
On Saturday in a pre-dawn raid, Pak helicopter gunships swooped on Shukrijumah's hideout. He died in a , the most senior al-Qaeda leader killed by the Pakistain military. Intelligence officials confirmed that five people captured were Shukrijumah's wife and four children.
|Sarasota family had many connections to 9/11 - and FBI helped them escape|
|[TheBlaze] What Secrets Lie Within 27 Boxes of New 9/11 Documents Discovered in Florida?|
The FBI probe that is the focus of the Freedom of Information lawsuit investigated a Saudi family with ties to the Royal Family and apparent connections to some of the 9/11 hijackers, including ringleader Mohamed Atta, and former Broward resident and currently suspected al Qaeda leader Adnan Shukrijumah.
The investigation began after neighbors in the upscale south Sarasota gated community of Prestancia called authorities to report that Abulaziz al-Hijji and his wife, Anoud, had suddenly moved out of their home two weeks before 9/11, leaving behind cars, furniture, clothing and food in the kitchen.
Sources have said agents later found gatehouse logs and photographs of license tags and phone records, showing that Atta, Shukrijumah and others had visited the al-Hijji's home.
|Rewards offered for wanted terrorists|
|[MAGHAREBIA] The recent capture of al-Qaeda operative Nazih Abdul Hamed al-Raghie (aka Abu Anas al-Libi) in is highlighting a programme that offers millions of dollars in rewards for leads on wanted terrorists.|
Described by his wife as " 's bodyguard", al-Libi was wanted in connection with the 1998 US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 victims, including 212 civilians.
Rewards are an effective formula to collect information, according to Abdul Baset Chibi, one of the founders of the Libyan intelligence service. "It is common in this field and has proven successful in many countries," he noted.
The US offered a $5 million reward for help to capture Abu Anas al-Libi, or providing information leading to his arrest.
For her part, Salma Senhaji, a student in her twenties said, "I think that the amounts provided by the FBI are very attractive even to those who are close to and wanted criminals."
Ayman al- has the largest price on his head. The FBI is offering $25 million to those who can help in his arrest. The FBI also posted for ten others of various Arab nationalities and Guyanese national Adnan Shukrijumah.
It is believed that Shukrijumah took over the duties of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in training for al-Qaeda. He plays a pivotal role in the recruitment of young people and in the creation of new cells for al-Qaeda.
"Offering rewards for the identification of people involved in terrorism is effective and should be used by all nations, especially since it has proved its efficacy on more than one occasion," S.A., a retired Libyan army officer who requested anonymity for fear of his life, said.
He added, "Many crimes have occurred in our city, Benghazi, and many of my comrades from the Libyan army were killed. To this day, we have not found the real killers. Yet if the Libyan government or one of the wealthy residents of Benghazi had offered a reward to identify the killers, we would not have waited all this time and we would not have seen more victims."
Basma Khalfaoui, wife of slain Tunisian opposition politician Chokri Belaid, was asked whether a financial reward to help identify the killers would be a positive step. "Why not?" she replied. "We have to consider this option as perhaps it will lead us to the truth."
Tunisian authorities accused of involvement in the of Belaid but have failed to track down the murderers.
Abou Iyadh, the leader of Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia, could be one person to add to the list, according to Walid Aisha, a civil society activist in Tripoli. Aisha also suggested adding the names of people wanted in connection with the murder of the US ambassador to Libya, including Ahmed Boukhtala.
"Offering financial rewards is not restricted to a particular state," criminologist Walid al-Hani noted. "It is used by several countries that suffer from terrorism and organised crime. Even poor countries could not help but to offer awards to eliminate the growing phenomenon of terrorism."
"In September, Yemen's Supreme Security Committee published the names of 25 planning to carry out operations in the country. The committee offered rewards worth $230,000 for information leading to their arrest. This amount is very tempting in a country that is among the poorest in the world," al-Hani said.
In June of last year and in order to face growing terrorism in West Africa, the US offered for the first time lucrative financial rewards to those who provide information leading to key leaders in regional terrorist organizations.
Rewards were posted for leaders of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), and the Signed-in-Blood Brigade.
Five million dollars were offered for information on AQIM leader Yahya Abou El Hammam as well as for Mokhtar Belmokhtar (aka Khaled Abou El Abbas or Laaouar). Three million dollars were offered for help leading to the location of senior AQIM official Malik Abou Abdelkarim and MUJAO spokesperson Oumar Ould Hamaha. Seven million dollars were also offered for information leading to the arrest of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.
|London-based oil executive linked to 9/11 hijackers|
|A n accused of associating with several of the September 11 hijackers and who disappeared from his home in the United States a few weeks before the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, is in London working for his country's state oil company. |
Abdulaziz al-Hijji and his wife Anoud left three cars at their luxurious home in a gated community in Sarasota, Florida one of them new and flew to in August 2001. The refrigerator was full of food; furniture and clothing were left behind; and the swimming pool water was still circulating.
Security records of cars passing through a checkpoint at the Prestancia gated community indicated that Mr al-Hijjis home, 4224 Escondito Circle, had been visited a number of times by Mohamed Atta, the leader of the
19-strong hijack team, who piloted American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Centre in 2001.
The logs also indicated that Marwan Al-Shehhi, who crashed United Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower, and Ziad Jarrah, who was at the controls of United Airlines Flight 93 when it crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, had visited the house.
All three men had trained to fly at Venice Airport, which is 19 miles from Sarasota.
A US counter-terrorist agent told The Daily Telegraph: The registration numbers of vehicles that had passed through the Prestancia communitys north gate in the months before 9/11, coupled with the identification documents shown by incoming drivers on request, showed that Mohamed Atta and several of his fellow hijackers, and another Saudi suspect still , had visited 4224 Escondito Circle.
The suspect was Adnan Shukrijumah, an al-Qaeda operative who is on the FBIs Most Wanted list, with a $5 million bounty on his head.A decade after the worlds worst terrorist attack, which claimed the lives of 3,000 people, Mr al-Hijji is resident in London, working for the European subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, s state oil company. Described as a career counsellor, he is based in the offices of Aramco Overseas Company UK Limited and lives in an expensive flat in central London.
In email correspondence with the Telegraph, Mr al-Hijji any involvement in the plot, writing: I have neither relation nor association with any of those bad people/criminals and the awful crime they did. 9/11 is a crime against the USA and all humankind and Im very saddened and oppressed by these false allegations.
I love the USA. My kids were born there, I went to college and university there, I spent a good portion of my life there and I love it.
Mr al-Hijjis account is supported by the FBI, which has stated: At no time did the FBI develop evidence that connected the family members to any of the 9/11 hijackers and there was no connection found to the 9/11 plot.
Bob Graham, a former US senator who, in addition to co-chairing the congressional inquiry into 9/11, was chairman of the US senate intelligence committee at the time, disputes the FBI denials. He has long believed that there was Saudi support for the 19 terrorists, 15 of whom were subjects of the kingdom. He cites two secret documents to which he has recently had access.
The first document, Graham says, is not consistent with the public statements of the FBI that there was no connection between the 9/11 hijackers and the Saudis at the Sarasota home. Both documents indicate that the investigation was not the robust inquiry claimed by the FBI.
Mr al-Hijji, 38, moved with his family to in 2003, setting up home in a rented four-bedroom detached house in the Southampton suburb of Totton. His stay there appears to have been uneventful.
The al-Hijjis abrupt departure from Sarasota aroused the suspicion of their next-door neighbour, Patrick Gallagher. He emailed the FBI within two days of 9/11 to report the disappearance of the couple and their young children.
Reports released recently by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement refer to the suspicious manner and timing of the familys departure.
One document states: In mid-August 2001 the above subjects purchased a new vehicle and renewed the registration on several other vehicles. On Aug 27 2001 a moving truck appeared and moved the subjects out of the house. Left behind were the vehicles and numerous personal belongings, including food, medicine, bills, baby clothing etc.
The document goes on to state that Mr al-Hijji and Esam Ghazzawi, his father-in-law and the owner of the Escondito Circle house, had been on the FBI watch list prior to 9/11.
Mr al-Hijji described the allegations against him as just cheap talk and denied having abandoned his home in undue haste, explaining: No, no, no. Absolutely not true. We were trying to secure the [Aramco] job. It was a good opportunity.
He said his wife and children followed him out to a few weeks after he left. She and his American-born mother-in-law had been questioned by the FBI when they returned to the United States to settle the familys affairs.
But he was not questioned when he returned to America for a two-month period in 2005.
|Home Front: WoT|
|Mystery surrounds the ritzy Florida home linked to 9/11 terrorists|
|It's a sprawling piece of real estate with a dark secret: It may have been a haven for bloodthirsty terrorists. The sudden disappearance of the home's Saudi residents before September 11 prompted calls to authorities, who found links to those who orchestrated the horrific attacks of that morning. Days before the tenth anniversary of the worst terror strike on American soil, new light is being shed on the home, and its ties to the tragedy.|
The Miami Herald reported the home was owned at the time by Esam Ghazzawi, a financier and interior designer, his wife Deborah, Ghazzawi's daughter Anoud, and her husband Abdulazzi al-Hiijjii. Days before September 11, 2001, the Saudi family and their small children hurriedly vacated in a white van, leaving brand new cars in the garage, a fridge full of food and closets filled with clothes.
Their sudden departure irked Larry Berberich, senior administrator and security officer of the gated community, who reported the exodus. Ironically, Mr Berberich, an advisor to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, was with the group that received President Bush during his visit to the school where he was famously told of the terror attacks on the morning of September 11.
That same morning, neighbour Patrick Gallagher emailed the FBI to report what he felt was suspicious behaviour by the family. In an investigation that began weeks after the 9/11 attacks, the FBI reportedly found several links to the hijackers who carried them out.
When authorities pulled the records of phone calls to and from the home, they discovered the numbers belonged to more than a dozen suspected terrorists, including the 9/11 hijackers. A check on the logs of those entering the gated community prior to the attacks found a car belonging to Mohammed Atta, who piloted American Airlines Flight 11 into the north tower of the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11.
Another car entering was linked to Ziad Samir Jarrah, a hijacker of United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed just outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Jarrah received flight training about a block away from the house at the Florida Flight Training, the Herald reported.
Another phone number linked to the home was that of Adnan Shukrijumah, who is believed to have been with Atta in the spring of 2001. Shukrijumah, who is on the FBI's Most Wanted list, remains on the loose.
The FBI was able to trace Ghazzawi's route back to Riyadh, with a stopover at a property he owned in Arlington, Virginia,
...to pick up the Krugerrands...
before boarding a flight to Heathrow Airport on the way to . An unnamed counterterrorism agent told the paper that Ghazzawi and al-Hiijjii were on an FBI watch list and a U.S. agency tracking terrorist funds was interested in both men even before 9/11.
Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, who co-chaired the inquiry into the 9/11 attacks, said he was surprised he wasn't told about the probe of the Escondito Circle home at the time - even though he was especially alert to information pertaining to Florida. Despite that, the inquiry was able to gather a massive file on the hijackers in the United States, and it was turned it over to the 9/11 Commission. But Sen Graham said the Commission 'did very little with it, and their reference to is almost cryptic sometimes. I never got a good answer as to why they did not pursue that.'
The opulent house was sold in 2003.
|Fla. mom says Shukrijumah is not a high-ranking al Qaeda terrorist, but a kind boy|
|The FBI says Adnan Shukrijumah is a dangerous al Qaeda operative, but his mom, who lives in Miramar, Fla., says he is kind, loving, and caring boy, the Florida Sun Sentinel reported late Friday.|
Federal officials in the United States say the former Broward Community College student who spent 15 years in South Florida with his mother and five siblings is now head of global operations for al Qaeda.
In that capacity, Shukrijumah is allegedly in charge of planning attacks on the U.S. and other western countries, a position once held by Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was captured in 2003.
"It's not true," his mother, Zurah Adbu Ahmed, told the Sun Sentinel on Friday when told of the FBI's latest findings. "I don't know. But I don't think it's true. He's a kind, loving, caring boy."
She has not heard from her son, now 35, in many years, Adbu Ahmed said.
According to his mom, Shukrijumah does have very strong feelings about American policy as it pertains to the world. But that "doesn't make him a terrorist," she noted. She added that he would never kill anyone because she taught him not to.
"If you kill one person it's like you kill a whole nation," she said. "He knows that well. He will not kill people. He is gentle and kind."
The FBI tells a different story. It named Shukrijumah as an al Qaeda conspirator in 2003, adding that he became convinced that he needed to join the jihad following conflicts in Bosnia and Chechnya in the 1990s. That led him to training camps in Afghanistan where he learned battle tactics and surveillance techniques.
The FBI says he is the only high ranking al Qaeda official with intimate knowledge of the United States and a U.S. green card. They are offering $5 million for information leading to his capture.
He is accused, and has been charged by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, of being the person who recruiting and training three New Yorkers to plan a series of attacks on the New York City subway system.
Shukrijumah, who was born in Saudi Arabia and was raised in the United States, had a job assembling telephone components for Motorola. His mother said he was seeking new opportunity and flew to Trinidad a week before Sept. 11 to look into a new business venture.
He called a few days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and his mother told him not to come home because s were going to become targets.
She said she does not know where he is and is worried the United States will try to assassinate him.
|Home Front: WoT|
|New Al Qaida chief is former US resident|
|A suspected Al Qaida operative who lived for more than 15 years in the United States has become chief of the terror network's global operations, the FBI says, marking the first time a leader so intimately familiar with American society has been placed in charge of planning attacks.|
Adnan Shukrijumah, 35, has taken over a position once held by September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was captured in 2003, Miami-based FBI counterterrorism agent Brian LeBlanc told The in an exclusive interview. That puts him in regular contact with al-Qaida's senior leadership, including Osama bin Laden, LeBlanc said.
Shukrijumah and two other leaders were part of an "external operations council" that designed and approved terrorism plots and recruits, but his two counterparts were killed in US s, leaving Shukrijumah as the de facto chief and successor to Mohammed, his former boss.
"He's making operational decisions is the best way to put it," said LeBlanc, the FBI's lead Shukrijumah investigator. "He's looking at attacking the US and other Western countries. Basically through attrition, he has become his old boss."
The FBI has been searching for Shukrijumah since 2003. He is thought to be the only Al Qaida leader to have once held permanent US resident status, or a green card.
Shukrijumah was named earlier this year in a federal indictment as a conspirator in the case against three men accused of plotting suicide bomb attacks on New York's subway system in 2009. The indictment marked the first criminal charges against Shukrijumah, who previously had been sought only as a witness.
Shukrijumah is also suspected of playing a role in plotting of potential Al Qaida bomb attacks in Norway and a never-executed attack on subways in the United Kingdom, but LeBlanc said no direct link has yet emerged. Travel records and other evidence also indicate Shukrijumah did research and surveillance in spring 2001 for a never-attempted plot to disrupt commerce in the Panama Canal by sinking a freighter there, LeBlanc explained.
Shukrijumah was labeled a "clear and present danger" to the US in 2004 by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft. The US is offering a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture and the FBI also is releasing an age-enhanced photo of what he may look like today.
It's natural he would focus on attacking on the US LeBlanc said.
"He knows how the system works. He knows how to get a driver's license. He knows how to get a passport," LeBlanc said.
'Came to the US after father took post at Flordia mosque'
LeBlanc said the new charges were brought after the New York subway bomb suspects identified him to investigators as their Al Qaida superior. The New York suspects provided other key information about his Al Qaida status.
"It was basically Adnan who convinced them to come back to the United States and do this attack," LeBlanc said. "His ability to manipulate someone like that and direct that, I think it speaks volumes."
Before turning to radical strains of Islam, Shukrijumah lived in Miramar with his mother and five siblings, excelling at computer science and chemistry courses while studying at community college. He had come to South Florida in 1995 when his father, a cleric and missionary trained in Saudi Arabia, decided to take a post at a Florida mosque after several years at a mosque in Brooklyn, New York.
At some point in the late 1990s, according to the FBI, Shukrijumah became convinced that he must participate in "jihad," or holy war, to fight perceived persecution against s in places like Chechnya and Bosnia.
That led to training camps in Afghanistan in the late 1990s, where he underwent basic and advanced training in the use of automatic weapons, explosives, battle tactics, surveillance and camouflage.
Shukrijumah was born in Saudi Arabia. He is a citizen of Guyana, a small South American country where his father was born. His father died in 2004.
The FBI is still hoping to bring charges in South Florida against Shukrijumah, but key information about him was provided by Guantanamo Bay detainees such as Mohammed, whose use as a witness would be difficult.
"For us, it's never been a dry hole. It's always been an active investigation and it's global in nature," LeBlanc said. "We have never stopped working it."
|Home Front: WoT|
|FBI: New Al Qaeda Terror Boss Knows the U.S.|
|A suspected al Qaeda operative who lived for more than 15 years in the U.S. has become chief of the terror network's global operations, the FBI says, marking the first time a leader so intimately familiar with American society has been placed in charge of planning attacks. |
Soon to be intimately familiar with a Hellfire missile.
Adnan Shukrijumah, 35, has taken over a position once held by 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was captured in 2003, Miami-based FBI counterterrorism agent Brian LeBlanc told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview. That puts him in regular contact with al Qaeda's senior leadership, including Osama bin Laden, LeBlanc said.
Shukrijumah and two other leaders were part of an "external operations council" that designed and approved terrorism plots and recruits, but his two counterparts were killed in U.S. drone attacks, leaving Shukrijumah as the de facto chief and successor to Mohammed - his former boss.
"Congratulations, Adnan. You've just been promoted to Number Three! Adnan? Adnan? Hey, Achmed, get the smelling salts!"
"He's making operational decisions is the best way to put it," said LeBlanc, the FBI's lead Shukrijumah investigator. "He's looking at attacking the U.S. and other Western countries. Basically through attrition, he has become his old boss."
|Home Front: WoT|
|Al-Qaida leader on FBI most wanted list to be charged in NYC bomb plot|
|Federal prosecutors are expected to announce terrorism charges against an al-Qaida leader with ties to last year's thwarted plot to bomb the New York City subway system.|
Law enforcement officials say Adnan Shukrijumah will be named in an indictment in Brooklyn federal court Wednesday.
Shukrijumah has eluded the FBI for years and remains at large. He is among the top candidates to be al-Qaida's next head of external operations, the man in charge of planning attacks worldwide.
Authorities believe Shukrijumah met with a would-be suicide bomber in a plot that Attorney General Eric Holder called one of the most dangerous since 9/11.
|Home Front: WoT|
|US officials link Shukrijumah to New York plot|
|Current and former counter-terrorism officials of the United States have linked Adnan Shukrijumah, one of the most wanted persons, to thwarted plot to bomb the subway system in New York City last year, authorities said.|
The officials said Shukrijumah, top al Qaeda operative, met with one of the would-be suicide bombers in a plot that Attorney General Eric Holder called one of the most dangerous since the 9/11 attacks. In Brooklyn, federal prosecutors have named Shukrijumah in a draft terrorism indictment but the Justice Department was still discussing whether to cite his role.
Some officials feared that the extra attention might hinder efforts to capture him. The involvement of Shukrijumah shows how important the (subway bombing) plot was to al Qaeda's senior leadership. Intelligence officials believe Shukrijumah is one of the top candidates to become al Qaeda's next head of external operations, the man in charge of planning attacks worldwide.
The counter-terrorism officials discussed the case on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak about it. Shukrijumah, 34, has eluded the FBI for years. The Saudi-born operative studied at a community college in Florida, but when the FBI showed up to arrest him as a witness to a terrorism case in 2003, he already had left the country. The US is offering $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.
Intelligence officials started unraveling the subway plot last year, when US intelligence intercepted an electronic mail from an account that al Qaeda had used in a recent terrorist plot, officials said. The mail discussed bomb-making techniques and was sent to an address in Denver, setting off alarms within the CIA and the FBI from Islamabad to the US.
Najibullah Zazi and two friends were arrested in September 2009 before, prosecutors said, they could carry out a trio of suicide bombings in Manhattan. Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay have pleaded guilty and admitted planning to detonate homemade bombs on the subway during rush hour. A third man, Adis Medunjanin, awaits trial. A fourth suspect, known as Ahmed, traded the emails with Zazi, who was frantically trying to perfect his bomb-making recipe, the officials said.
The US wants to bring the Pakistani man to the US for trial on charges that are not yet public. The CIA learned valuable information about al Qaeda and its operations from Ahmed. The officials in Pakistan have also arrested a fifth person, known as Afridi, who worked with Ahmed, the officials said. The FBI and the US attorney's office in Brooklyn had no comment.
The US officials told The Associated Press about how the men hooked up with al Qaeda. The new account provides a rare glimpse into the recruiting process. The trio's lengthy odyssey took them from their homes in Queens to the mountainous tribal areas in northwest Pakistan. The prosecutors said the men, motivated by their anger at the war in Afghanistan, travelled to Peshawar in the summer of 2008 to fight against the US forces.
Before splitting up, the men stayed at the house of Zazi's uncle. Zazi remained in Peshawar while Ahmedzay and Medunjanin headed into Afghanistan where they hoped to join the fight against the Americans, they said. But Ahmedzay and Medunjanin never made it. They were stopped at a roadblock and briefly detained by the police who were suspicious of their Western looks and their US passports.
The two men talked their way out of the bind, however, and the police never contacted the US about it, the officials said. Undeterred, the men regrouped in Peshawar and were recruited to meet an al Qaeda facilitator at local mosque in Peshawar. While al Qaeda was eager to recruit Americans, the group was also deeply suspicious of the trio and wanted to make sure they were not US spies.
Once they passed that initial test, Ahmed drove them to North Waziristan and delivered them to a rudimentary terrorist camp. The three received weapons training, but al Qaeda had bigger plans for the men than the Afghanistan front line. Salah al-Somali, then the head of external operations, and Rashid Rauf, a British national linked to a 2006 jetliner bomb plot, explained to the three men that they were more useful as bombers in the US.
It was at that camp that the US officials believe Ahmedzay, and perhaps the other two men, met Shukrijumah. In 2004, then attorney general John Ashcroft called Shukrijumah a clear and present danger to the US. Abu Zubaydah told US authorities that Shukrijumah was among the most likely candidates to attack the US or Europe. The trio completed about two weeks of training and left the camp with the promise of returning. But only Zazi made the trip back to Waziristan to take a course on explosives.
In early 2009, Zazi flew to New York and moved to Denver, armed with bomb-making notes. Unlike the Sept 11, 2001, attacks they chose the target, not Osama bin Laden. The emails that tipped off US intelligence triggered "Operation High Rise," an FBI investigation that had to come together within days. Agents scrambled as Zazi sped toward New York on September 9, armed with about two pounds of the powerful explosive.
He was stopped on the George Washington Bridge, but authorities failed to find the explosive material (TATP) stashed in a bag in the trunk. Spooked after the traffic stop, Zazi gave the TATP to Ahmedzay, who flushed it down the toilet. That week, the FBI raided the homes of all three friends, bringing a swift end to the plot.
|Home Front: WoT|
|Terrorist could build nuke inside US for $5,433,000|
Terrorists could assemble a small group of fewer than 20 to construct a Hiroshima-size nuclear bomb, purchase the fissionable uranium needed and transport it to the U.S. city of their choice for less than $10 million, says a new report published in the November-December issue of Foreign Policy.
"The Bomb in the Backyard" was the result of the investigative work of Peter D. Zimmerman and Jeffrey G. Lewis. Zimmerman is professor of science and security in the Department of War Studies at King's College in London and previously served as chief scientist of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and chief scientist of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Lewis is executive director of the Managing the Atom Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
"To put it in strictly commercial terms, terrorists would likely find a nuclear attack cost effective," they write in the article. "The simple appeal of nuclear terrorism can be illustrated with a hypothetical situation. A failed nuclear detonation, one that produced only a few tens of tons in yield, could kill 10,000 people in just a few hours if the device exploded in a crowded financial center. Not only would 10,000 persons represent the upward limit of a conventional terrorist attack, but that figure would exceed the combined casualties in all of al-Qaida's attacks over the entire history of the organization." And that's the "worst-case" scenario for the terrorists, the authors point out. If "successful," the nuclear detonation would kill 10 times more people 100,000.
Without giving away any information about the assembling of such a device that cannot already be found easily on the Internet, Zimmerman and Lewis construct a scenario for building a nuclear bomb within the U.S. for a budget of less than $10 million finding it can done with a small team of about 19, the same number of people involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. "It is certainly possible that a terrorist group might not want to risk detection within U.S. borders and would prefer to make the bomb overseas," they write. "But, for purposes of this hypothetical situation, we chose a scenario that would be far less uncertain for the terrorists by eliminating the risks of moving the bomb across a border."
In fact, the backyard bomb project came in under budget at $5.433 million. The authors said the project from start to finish would take no more than a few months. "Once complete, the nuclear device itself is likely to be less than 9 feet long," said the report. "Although it would not fit easily in a sedan, it could be transported in a van or small panel truck with, say, a couple drivers and a couple more people to keep an eye on the device. The plotters could target any number of metropolitan areas and would be free to choose based entirely on their desire to travel unobtrusively and undetected, presumably across a large fraction of the United States."
The authors warn that nuclear terrorism is still very much on the minds of al-Qaida, which began plans more than a decade ago for what it dubbed "American Hiroshima," a nuclear attack on the U.S. As recently as September, they say, al-Qaida put out a call urging nuclear scientists to join its war against the West.
Also in September, the new al-Qaida field commander in Afghanistan called for Muslims to leave the U.S. particularly Washington and New York in anticipation of a major terror attack to rival Sept. 11, according to an interview by another Pakistani journalist.
Abu Dawood told Hamid Mir, a reporter who has covered al-Qaida and met with Osama bin Laden, the attack is being coordinated by Adnan el-Shukrijumah and suggests it may involve some form of weapon of mass destruction smuggled across the Mexican border.
"Our brothers are ready to attack inside America. We will breach their security again," he is quoted as saying. "There is no timeframe for our attack inside America; we can do it any time." As WND has previously reported, el-Shukrijumah is a trained nuclear technician and accomplished pilot who has been singled out by bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri to serve as the field commander for the next terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
The terrorist was last seen in Mexico, where, on Nov. 1, 2004, he allegedly hijacked a Piper PA Pawnee cropduster from Ejido Queretaro near Mexicali to transport a nuclear weapon and nuclear equipment into the U.S., according to Paul Williams, a former FBI consultant and author of "The Dunces of Doomsday."
"He is an American and a friend of Muhammad Atta, who led 9/11 attacks five years ago," said Dawood. "We call him 'Jaffer al Tayyar' (Jafer the Pilot); he is very brave and intelligent. (President) Bush is aware that brother Adnan has smuggled deadly materials inside America from the Mexican border. Bush is silent about him, because he doesnt want to panic his people. Sheikh Osama bin Laden has completed his cycle of warnings. You know, he is man of his words, he is not a politician; he always does what he says. If he said it many times that Americans will see new attacks, they will definitely see new attacks. He is a real mujahid. Americans will not win this war, which they have started against Muslims. Americans are the biggest supporters of the biggest terrorist in the world, which is Israel."
Mir reportedly interviewed Dawood Sept. 12 at the tomb of Sultan Mehmud Ghaznawi on the outskirts of Kabul. Dawood and the al-Qaida leaders who accompanied him were clean-shaven and dressed as Western reporters. The al-Qaida commander had contacted Mir by cell phone to arrange the meeting.
El-Shukrijumah was born in Guyana Aug. 4, 1975 the firstborn of Gulshair el-Shukrijumah, a 44-year-old radical Muslim cleric, and his 16-year-old wife. In 1985, Gulshair migrated to the United States, where he assumed duties as the imam of the Farouq Mosque in Brooklyn.
The mosque, located at 554 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, has served as a hive for terrorist activities. It has raised millions for the jihad and has served as a recruiting station for al-Qaida. Many of the planners of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, including blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, were prominent members of this notorious "house of worship."
In 1995, the Shukrijumah family relocated to Miramar, Fla., where Gulshair became the spiritual leader of the radical Masjid al-Hijah Mosque, and where Adnan became friends with Jose Padilla, who planned to detonate a radiological bomb in midtown Manhattan; Mandhai Jokhan, who was convicted of attempting to blow up nuclear power plants in southern Florida; and a group of other homegrown terrorists.
Adnan Shukrijumah attended flight schools in Florida and Norman, Oklahoma, along with Mohammad Atta and the other 9/11 operatives, and he became a highly skilled commercial jet pilot, although he, like Atta and the other terrorists, never applied for a license with the Federal Aviation Commission.
In April 2001, Shukrijumah spent 10 days in Panama, where he reportedly met with al-Qaida officials to assist in the planning of 9/11. He also traveled to Trinidad and Guyana, where virulent al-Qaida cells have been established. The following month, he obtained an associate's degree in computer engineering from Broward Community College.
During this time, he managed to get passports from Guyana, Trinidad, Saudi Arabia, Canada and the United States, according to Williams. He also began to adopt a number of aliases, including Abu Arifi, Jafar al-Tayyar, Jaafar At Yayyar, Ja'far al-Tayar, and Mohammed Sher Mohammed Khan (the name that appeared on his official FBI file). He traveled to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, where he met with Ramzi Binalshibh, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and other members of the al-Qaida high command. He also spent considerable time within al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan, where he received training in explosives and special operations.
Following 9/11, el-Shukrijumah was reportedly singled out by bin Laden and al-Zawahiri to spearhead the next great attack on America. One plan was for a nuclear attack that would take place simultaneously in seven U.S. cities, leaving millions dead and the richest and most powerful nation on earth in ashes. "Muslims should leave America," said Dawood. "We cannot stop our attack just because of the American Muslims; they must realize that American forces are killing innocent Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq; we have the right to respond back, in the same manner, in the enemy's homeland. The American Muslims are like a human shield for our enemy; they must leave New York and Washington."
Mir, the journalist, has reported previously that al-Qaida has smuggled nuclear weapons and uranium into the U.S. "I am saying that Muslims must leave America, but we can attack America anytime," he said. "Our cycle of warnings has been completed, now we have fresh edicts from some prominent Muslim scholars to destroy our enemy, this is our defending of Jihad; the enemy has entered in our homes and we have the right to enter in their homes, they are killing us, we will kill them."