Schlagwort-Archive: camps

Berlin Jihadi arrested in Austria

by Florian Flade

Yusuf O. aka „Ayyub al-Almani“

Two years ago he threatened Germany with terror attacks on major cities from his hideout somewhere in Waziristan, now he was arrested – Yusuf O.. Austrian police arrested the 26 year-old Turkish national from Berlin in the Austrian capital Vienna on May 31. There was no press release or any sign from authorities in Austria or Germany that Yusuf O. was in their custody. His arrest was a secret because investigators regard him as a major source for information about Europe-based terrorism supporters and recruiters.

Yusuf O., a German of Turkish origin, was seen as a prime example of integration in Germany. In 2005 he graduated from school with the highest middle school degree possible and shortly after began his studies of engineering at Berlin´s University. On the Internet Yusuf O. described himself as a „pretty creative mind“, someone interested in „spirituality, engineering and fire arms“.

Around 2008 it seems, Yusuf O. rediscovered his Muslim faith. He went to the mosque more often, prayed and befriended with a group of Salafi Muslims in Berlin, among them Fatih T.. T. was a also a „reborn Muslim“, born into a Turkish family whose process of radicalization started in University.

In May 2009 Yusuf O. and Fatih T. left Germany for Jihad. Both traveled to Pakistan via Turkey and joined up the „Deutsche Taliban Mujahidin“ (DTM) in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan. Several other Germans, including the late Saarländer convert Eric Breininger, were members of that group who began to grow with the arrival of Fatih T. and Yusuf O.

During summer and fall of 2009, Yusuf O. was featured in several of DTM´s propaganda videos. The most famous one was released a few days prior to the German parliamentary elections in September 2009. In it Yusuf O. aka „Ayyub al-Almani“ threatened the German public with terror attacks if German troops would not withdraw from Afghanistan. „Jihad will tear down the German walls“, he said, „your security is only an illusion.“

Suspected terror targets were seen in the video including Berlin´s Brandenburger Gate, the Cologne cathedral and Munich´s Oktober-Fest. German counter-terrorism officials called the video „the most direct and most serious threat against Germany yet“. In another videos, Yusuf O. called for German Muslims to came to Waziristan and join the Jihad or to sent money to the Mujahidin.

While his friend Fatih T. rose to the become the „Amir“ of the DTM, Yusuf O. made his way back to Europe. Austrian police arrested him in late May. Germany had given out an international arrest warrant for the Berlin Talib. How and when Yusuf O. entered Austria is unclear. The arrest was not made at the Vienna Airport, which could suggest he traveled from Pakistan to an East European country – the Czech Republic, Hungaria or the Balkans – and then made his way to Austria.

O.´s arrest was not made public till other terror-related news in Austria broke and it became known a person with that name had been captured. On Wednesday four terror suspects were arrested in several raids across Vienna. Austrian convert Thomas al-J. was arrested by the police in this apartment while another 25 year-old convert, his 19 year-old wife and a Chechen man were arrested at the airport. They were allegedly on their way to the Waziristan terror camps of the DTM.

Thomas al-J. is a known radical convert who has connections to other Islamists across the border in Germany and was a blogger admiring Jihadi cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Authorities in Austria believe al-J. recruited the other arrested terror suspects and organized their trips to Pakistan. In his Vienna apartment police found a Computer flight simulation game. Al-J., Austrian media reported yesterday, had trained to fly a commercial airliner in order to attack the German parliament.

All of the arrested Austrian terror suspects were released on Wednesday evening. The intention to travel to a terror camp was not enough evidence to keep them in custody.

Media reports said that the arrests might have been linked to the arrest of the German Yusuf O.. It is very likely O. who has been in Waziristan recently, knew of the supporter and recruiter network in Vienna. Unconfirmed information says he even met Thomas al-J. shortly before his arrest.

Austrian authorities would not comment on Yusuf O. but I received information he is still in Austrian custody waiting to be sent to Germany. Prosecution in Karlsruhe investigates Yusuf O.´s case since he appeared in the September 2009 propaganda video. They accuse him of being a member of the DTM, recruitment for a terrorist organization and support of terrorism.

NY Terror Suspect arrested in Hawaii – The Next Faisal Shehzad?

by Florian Flade

Surveillance camera footage – US-Jihadi Faisal Shehzad driving car bomb into Times Square

Abdel Hameed Shehadeh tried it several times – and even as FBI agents approached the 21 year-old U.S. Muslim, he did not stop plotting and thinking about how to join Jihad.

The New York-born man was finally arrested last Friday in Honolulu, Hawaii, and appeared in court in Monday for the first time. In the criminal complaint, the U.S. Department of Justice, charges Shehadeh with involvement in international terrorism. Allegedly Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, who was born and raised on Staten Island (New York) posted videos and documents of radical Islamic content on his own websites and had tried to join militant groups in foreign countries, including Pakistan, Somalia and Iraq.

Shehadeh´s first attempt to enter the world of jihad, failed in Summer 2008. Livingin Brooklyn (New York) he bought a One-Way ticket to Pakistan, boarding a plane from J.F Kennedy Airport (New York) to Islamabad (Pakistan) on June 13th. Pakistani officials did not allow him to enter the country.

Telling the Pakistani officials, he planned to attend Islamic Universities in the country and visit the engagement party of his brother, they suspected the young American Muslim was about to join Taliban and al-Qaeda.
In an April 2010 conversation with the FBI, Shehadeh admitted, if he had been allowed to enter Pakistan, „without a doubt, he would have joined the Taliban“, the complaint says.

In late October 2008, Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, flew from Newark Airport (New Jersey) to Amman (Jordan), suspected of trying to get to Iraq via Jordan. Jordanian officials denied him entry and sent back to the U.S.

Weeks after the failed attempt to join the Iraqi insurgency the terror suspect went to a recruiting center of the US Army on New York´s Times Square to join the military. Asked by the recruiter if he had traveled overseas, Shehadeh lied and told him he had only been to Israel once.

The real reason why the NY-Muslim wanted to become a US soldier was not to serve his country, but to be deployed to Iraq, where he planned to leave the army and join the Anti-American insurgency.

Shehadeh „informed (one witness) that he hoped to be deployed to Iraq,“ the complaint of the DoJ says. „At the time he was applying to join the military, Shehadeh told, when he arrived in Iraq, he intended to commit ‚treason‘ and fight United States soldiers. He explained that joining the military was an easier way to join jihad because the military would provide him with training, transportation and a weapon.“

Turned away by the U.S. recruiting center in Manhattan, Abdel Hameed Shehadeh started becoming more involved in the Online Jihad, creating his a website, promoting Anti-Western propaganda, featuring speeches and sermons of U.S.-Yemeni preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, Abu Yahya al-Libi and Osama Bin Laden.

After he moved to Hawaii in 2009, Shehadeh was confronted by FBI agents in early 2010 who asked him about his travels and Internet activities – why he spread Jihadi propaganda on internet forums and his own blog. As he allegedly tried to travel to Somalia, the FBI also informed Shehadeh, that he was on a „No-Fly“ list and therefore not allowed to leave the United States.

Questioned by the FBI, Shehadeh admitted his own Website was „designed to mirror and reformat the teachings of radical U.S.-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki“. He also said, in the past he had agreed and sympathized with al-Qaeda´s ideology.

„It is time for the Muslims to start practicing our freedom of speech“, Abdel Hameed Shehadeh wrote on his Website, „My brothers of revolution Islam, I am with you as long as you keep struggling. Trust me there are many brothers and sisters in America that are ready to speak up. They just need a push.“

The Hawaii terror suspect was under the watchful monitoring of the U.S. counter-terrorism forces, yet, authorities decided to detain him only after he started to recruit another Muslim man in an internet-discussion about an Anwar al-Awlaki video, to join him in going for Jihad.

Big question in this new New York Terror case: Connection to Revolution Muslim?