Schlagwort-Archive: September 11th

New Book – Proof Of Life By Al-Qaeda´s Spokesman

by Florian Flade

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Years have past without any word, any statement, video tape or other proof of life by al-Qaeda´s main spokesman, the Kuwaiti Jihadi Sulaiman Abu Ghaith. Now the 44 year-old al-Qaeda man has released a new book, the first part of an upcoming series of documents, titled „Twenty Instructions Upon The Path of Jihad“.

Abu Ghaith as I wrote in this earlier post, acted as al-Qaeda´s media spokesperson in the weeks after 9/11 and during U.S. invasion in Afghanistan. He joined the organization quite late and became a permanent official member only in Summer 2001. The Gulf Emirate of Kuwait stripped Abu Ghaith, who had fought in Bosnia in the early 1990s and worked as an Imam in his Arabic homeland, off his citizenship in October 2001 as he rose to the leadership level of al-Qaeda and called for attacks against the United States.

Without any doubt Sulaiman Abu Ghaith fled American troop invasion in Afghanistan and most likely took the path to Iran were he lived in asylum, probably under house arrest imposed by the Iranian government, which acknowledged Abu Ghaith´s presence back in 2003 and offered to extradite him back to Kuwait (the Kuwaiti government said he was no longer Kuwaiti citizen – so no interest in getting him back).

Meanwhile, intelligence agencies in Europe and North America seem to agree, Abu Ghaith was (along with other al-Qaeda members) „released“ from Iran and returned to the frontlines, meaning he joined al-Qaeda´s main body in the Afghan-Pakistan border region or – as some Arabic news outlets suggested – even traveled to Yemen to join the local al-Qaeda branch there.

Title of Abu Ghaith´s New Book

The latest document of Abu Ghaith is an unusual proof of life by the Islamist. The 104-page book was signed „Abu Yusuf Sulaiman Jassim Abu Ghaith – Official Spokesman of the Al-Qaeda Organization“ and was recently published on a Islamic website supporting Jihadi course.

As Australian terror expert Leah Farrell wrote on her blog, the new book features an sanctioning introduction by another „disappeared“ al-Qaeda figure – Abu Hafs al-Mauritani.

To me it seems rather obvious Al-Mauritani and Abu Ghaith were in some sort in contact with eachother in the years following 9/11. The al-Qaeda men might even have shared the same compound in Iran while living under house arrest although some sources say al-Mauritani was even allowed to leave the country some years back. No confirmation is available for that information.

If both Jihadis left Iran together it is likely they took the same bath as Egyptian al-Qaeda military head Saif al-Adel took and returned to the active planning, commanding, plotting or instructing ranks of the al-Qaeda network, meaning the former Iran-residents are in the Pakistani tribal region.

Analysis of the new Abu Ghaith book will show how life in exile has shaped the Jihadi´s take on Jihad, religious duties and politics.

The first question comes to mind looking at the author´s self-desription: Why is Abu Ghaith highlighting he might have lost his „job“ to another person within al-Qaeda? It says „Official Spokesman of the Al-Qaeda Organization (2001)“. Does the „2001“ mean, Abu Ghaith is not even sure if he is still holding this position? Who – if not Abu Ghaith – was the official al-Qaeda spokesperson in recent years?

Why Hamburg Matters – Jihad Made in Germany

by Florian Flade

Nine years after the Hamburg-Cell of Mohammed Atta, Ziad Jarrah and Ramzi Binalshibh took part in the biggest terror attack in modern history, the traces of a new al-Qaeda plot once again lead to the German coastal city, into the very same mosque where Atta and the other hijackers of 9/11 worshipped and met.

A group of Jihadi supporters, friends and helpers of the 9/11 terrorists, made their way into the schools of terror in the mountains of Northwest Pakistan. While some are back in Germany, living freely without charges, others were arrested and interrogated by the CIA. What they told their captors alarmed security services around the world and let to the first Europe-wide terror alert – Did a new generation of Hamburg´s al-Qaeda inspire the next 9/11 – scale terror plot?

The St.Georg suburb of Hamburg City is not a very likeable place. Dirty bars, adult entertainment shops, table dance bars, gyms, martial arts training centers, gambling halls and cheap restaurants offering foreign food of all sorts, shape the look of the neighborhood. Only a few hundred meters away from Hamburg´s main train station, prostitutes, drug dealers and criminals roam the streets almost every night.

Yet, in one of the old unobtrusive buildings, Steindamm No. 103, people met and sticked to a lifestyle without all the sin one can witness out on the streets. Mostly men, few older than 30, came to the mosque, centered on the first and second floor, right next to a Vietnamese restaurant and a bodybuilding center. The majority of the faithful worshippers were of immigrant background, others were repents trading their former life of crime, drugs and party for the full-time service to Allah and his prophet.

The Muslim community of the Steindamm mosque – Africans, Bosnians, Russians, Arabs, Turks, Iranians, Afghans, Pakistanis, white converts – shared the same ultraconservative Salafi ideology, following a very strict interpretation of Quran and Sunnah.
During Friday prayers, the elderly sat in the front row, right next to the Imam giving Khutba lectures. The younger worshippers filled the prayer room, while women were separated in another part of the building. Sermons were given in Arabic and German.

Masjid Taiba (formally Al Quds Mosque, renamed in 2008) was without any doubt the epic center of the fundamentalist Islamist community in Hamburg, a regular meeting place for those advocating and supporting violent jihad in Iraq, Afghanistan and even in the West.
Mohammed Atta, Ziad Jarrah and other hijackers of the 9/11 attacks were visitors of the Hamburg mosque, private home videos show the al-Qaeda terrorists celebrating the wedding of one of them – Said Bahaji – in the rooms of the former Al Quds Mosque.

After 9/11 intelligence agencies from around the world became interested in this mysterious worship place, investigating those who attend sermons at Steindamm No.103. Atta and his comrades died crashing passenger planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field – those who prayed and sang songs with the hijackers, and knew of their intention were still freely roaming the streets of Hamburg.

Mamoun Darkazanli is one of them. Known as „Abu Ilyas“ by the Masjid Taiba visitors, he was a leading Imam, preaching in Arabic, often holding a piece of paper or the Quran in one hand. Darkazanli had a leading role in supporting the 9/11 cell, his name appeared on Interpol lists of wanted terrorists, even the CIA planned to assassinate him. Hamburg officials who were monitoring him closely, did not arrest the Moroccan. Until the day Masjid Taiba was closed, Mamoun Darkazanli preached inside the Salafi temple.

Out of the 200 worshippers attending his Friday prayers in the years after 9/11, Germany´s intelligence estimated around fifty men (called „Group of 50“) belonged to the radical core promoting an Anti-Western, al-Qaeda-style version of Islam. They were regarded as supporters of Jihad but not necessary as potential terrorists themselves.

Police placed microphones inside Masjid Taiba and wiretapped suspects, recorded their travel movements. All these measures were known by the men and women visiting the mosque. Instead of being scared or stopping radical talks, they felt kind of proud. Being observed and monitored – in their view – was a sign of being important, eventhough the dozens of other mosques in Hamburg criticized the extremist Salafi brothers from St.Georg suburb.

Everybody knew the eyes of German intelligence were on the mosque. When computers were introduced in the common room of Masjid Taiba, some teenagers began downloading jihadi videos. Quickly the mosque leadership moved in, stopping them from getting involved in illegal activities – they were keen on appearing conservative, even radical, but clean from any terrorist activities.

The main task for Hamburg´s security officials regarding the Steindamm´s mosque was outlined quite clear: Never again should Hamburg become the center of global Jihad, a fertile breeding ground for the next 9/11-cell. As a final step, Hamburg officials moved in in early August and closed Taiba Mosque. Several computers, hard-drives, DVDs, documents and cash were confiscated by the police. No charges have been filed yet as shutting up the Taiba place was the priority.

Those familiar with the story of 9/11 ask: Why did it take so long for the German authorities to close the radical mosque? Why were Islamist preachers allowed to continue their brainwashing behind closed doors in the very same rooms Mohammed Atta spread his dangerous thoughts?

With the full knowledge of German security officials, a small group of radical Muslims formed in the orbit of Taiba Mosque by 2008. Among them were men who had met Mohammed Atta personally and who are good friends with the 9/11 helpers Mounir al-Motassadeq and Said Bahaji, both former residents of Hamburg.

The leading figure of this group was Rami M., a former low-profile criminal of Syrian descent born in the city of Frankfurt. He had a police crime record for violating the speed limit, possession of drugs and other charges, before he turned to radical Islam, becoming a faithful follower of the Salafi ideology. Rami M. moved from Frankfurt to Hamburg because of a woman, he got in contact with via internet chat forums.

In the North German coastal town M. rounded up about a dozen other Islamists, most of them in their twenties, the oldest one 55 of age. What these friends shared was not only the belief that Jihad against non-believers was an individual duty to every Muslim but also the intense admiration of the 9/11-hijackers.

On the day of the closing of Masjid Taiba, German police said a form of tourism had been established in recent years with Islamists coming from other parts of Europe and even the Middle East, to worship at the mosque. „It had become a form of sightseeing and telling people back home „I prayed in the mosque in which Atta prayed“, an Hamburg intelligence official said.

In 2008, Rami M. and his friends met regularly to chat about politics, the situation of the Muslim Ummah, about Iraq, Afghanistan and the mujahideen.
Soon, in winter 2008, the conclusion of the talks was „we have to act“.

They found a role model in two German nationals from Bonn, Mounir and Yassin C., brothers of Moroccan origin who had joined the militant group „Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan“ (IMU) in Pakistan years ago. Yassin and Mounir were turned into IMU´s propaganda workhorses, appearing in several videos on the internet, calling for German Muslims to come to Waziristan and live a Prophet-Lifestyle.

As the willingness of the Taiba friends grew to leave the sinful „bilad ul kufr“, the land of the unbelievers, German security services had the men on their radar. Rami M. and the others were considered dangerous, not an imminent threat, but definitely further radicalized then the average Islamists of Taiba Mosque.

One of Rami M.´s comrades was the young Iranian Shahab D. Born in 1983 in Iran, he had left the country in 1994 with his parents, fleeing the effects of the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. They settled in Hamburg, and Shahab grew up as an average immigrant child of Muslim background, joining sports clubs, listening to Rap music in his teenage years.

It was years after after 9/11, when Shahab D., influenced by Muslim friends, entered Taiba Mosque. Fascinated by the strict Salafi-Islam, the Iranian soon attended Friday prayers regularly. In 2007 or 2008, Shahab, a Shiite by family background, converted. A young Persian refugee turned into a fundamentalist Salafi in the middle of a modern German city. Shahab D. had become „Salman the Persian“.  His parents  are still convinced their son was „driven into extremism by those fanatics“.

In 2008, Shahab D. married his girlfriend, a now 23 year-old dental student, the daughter of a German woman and a Muslim West-African. The couple embraced the ultraconservative Islamic lifestyle, met with the men and women of Taiba Mosque and further radicalized in the period of only a few months.

During his phase of becoming a strict Salafi, Shahab D. met a man, who´s influence on him was fatal – Ahmad Wali S.
The 36 year-old Afghan was born in Kabul into a family of doctors, diplomats, engineers and lawyers. He fled Afghanistan with his family and lived a refugee´s life in India until he and his older brother immigrated to Hamburg in the 1990s. Ahmad Wali S. was granted German citizenship in 2001.

Ahmad´s father was a pilot, flying airplanes in Afghanistan for decades, even training pilots on how to fly huge carrier aircrafts. When the parents joined their two sons in Hamburg, Ahmad´s father was unable to get employed until today.

In Hamburg, Ahmad Wali S. was known as a smart student, dreaming of attending University, interested in cars, technology and computer sciences. But somehow he did not manage to graduate and had to make money as a pizza deliverer. Later, Ahmad S. got a job in a cleaning service company, working at Hamburg Airport. The father was a respected pilot, his son only cleaned airplanes.

While on vacation in Indonesia, Ahmad S., befriended with Shinta P., an Indonesian woman who was willing to marry the German-Afghan. After Ahmad received the German citizenship, he brought his future wife to Hamburg. Only there Shinta P. started wearing the headscarf and became a devoted Muslima. She never learned German, only talked to Ahmad in English for years, barely leaving the apartment.

Friends and family describe Ahmad as a faithful Muslim during the time of 9/11, but not as fanatic. He was a friend of the Hamburg-Cell supporter Mounir al-Motassadeq, visited him in prison. Together with his wife and al-Motassadeq, Ahmad S. traveled to Morocco in summer 2002. There he met the Jihadi preacher Sheikh Mohammad al-Fasasi, who had given lectures in the Hamburg Taiba Mosque in 2000 and was sentenced to 30 years in prison for involvement in the Cassablanca terror attacks.

Two years later, Ahmad S. started a second relationship with a woman from Eastern Europe, a work colleague he met at the airport. The two fell in love and once went on vacation to Turkey. Shinta, the Indonesian wife tolerated the second woman in Ahmad´s life, even accepting her husband moving into the other woman´s apartment.

With thousands of Euros in pay-off, Ahmad S. quit his job at the airport cleaning company in 2006. He and his new girlfriend opened a bakery in Hamburg – a business that failed.

A cousin borrowed Ahmad money, so he could start a new business – a travel agency – in early 2008 in Hamburg-St.Georg, the very same city district where the Taiba Mosque was located. Only nine months later, Ahmad S.´s business failed again.

Feeling inferior and in a desperate financial situation the German-Afghan sought refuge in his religion. Ahmad S. ended the relationship with his girlfriend, begged his wife to return to him. He grew a beard, banned music, movies and all sinful things from his life and even started to convince Non-Muslims in his neighborhood to accept Islam.

The friendship to the other fundamentalist Salafis of Taiba Mosque grew stronger.

When Rami M., Shahab D. and Ahmad Wali S. told the others in Taiba Mosque they were keen on fighting Jihad in Afghanistan, some of the men expressed concerns, asking „How to get their?“, „Police is monitoring us“ and „What route to choose?“. The one giving the answers was a Frenchman, born in Paris, brought up in Algeria – Naamen M.

He became the driving force to the Hamburg Jihadi travel trip, although he was already in the spotlight of the German Anti-Terror investigators.
Naamen M. had dual French and Algerian citizenship, and first appeared on the track record of the police in 2003 as a Jihad supporter and possible recruiter for suicide bombers sent from Europe to Iraq. Even he himself tried to join the fight against US forces in Iraq, but was arrested in Syria and sent back to Germany.

M. was experienced in trafficking people across national borders, he had all the necessary connections and was himself willing to become a Mujahed in Waziristan. The French-Algerian had lived in the North African homeland of his ancestors till 1992 when he moved to Hamburg, where he married the daughter of Moroccan Sheikh Mohammad al-Fasasi and fostered two children.Algerian security forces arrested Naamen´s father and one brother. Both of them „disappeared“ in the dungeons of the Algerian regime during the 1990s. Another brother joined the Islamist insurgency and was killed by Algerian military in 1996.

Naamen M. traveled from Hamburg to Algeria in January 2006, and was also arrested and held without charges for several months, allegedly being tortured by police and intelligence agents. Finally he was allowed to return to Hamburg, telling friends at Taiba Mosque about his experience in the Algerian prisons.

Naamen M., Rami M., Ahmad Wali S. and Shahab D. began meeting regularly at Ahmad S.´s place, discussing on how to realize their dream of fighting the „kuffar“ in Afghanistan. One Afghan they knew, had good contacts to region, making him a prime source for establishing the logistics.

It was Kabul-born Assadullah M., a 55 year-old Islamists, who came to Germany in the 1970s and made a number of trips to Pakistan very year. He became the oldest member of the Hamburg Jihadi tourist group and the first to leave Germany in early 2009. On February 4th 2009, Assadullah M. flew to Pakistan and since then disappeared. Intelligence services and police investigators are desperate to find out if he joined the terror groups of Waziristan or if he was even ready for Jihad. Others clearly were.

Ahmad Wali S., the pilot son, entered a travel agency in Hamburg´s main train station on March 2th 2009, and bought One-Way tickets to Pakistan for himself, his wife, his 22 year-old brother Sulayman, Shahab D. and his wife. Ahmad S. paid the 4155 Euro in cash, telling the staff in the travel agency, his brother was about to marry in Pakistan. The travel agency provided him with the necessary visas for the trip.

Two days later, in the middle of the night, two men and two women left Ahmad S.´s flat in Hamburg. German intelligence was stationed outside the house, filming the tourist group walking to the car packed with heavy luggage with hidden surveillance cameras. Ahmad S., Shahab D. and their wives, picking up Ahmad´s younger brother, drove 460 kilometres to Frankfurt am Main.

The following day Ahmad S.´s mother, who lived in the building right next to her son, noticed Sulayman´s suitcase was gone. She dialed his mobile phone. „I travel to Afghanistan with Ahmad“, Sulayman said and rang up.

Fearing their sons would join terrorist gangs in Pakistan, the parents contacted a friend in Hanover who called the police. Once the police was alarmed a group of Islamists was on their way to Waziristan, officers were sent to the Frankfurt Airport to preventing them from leaving the country. They failed because they waited at the wrong departure gate – Ahmad, Sulayman, Shahab and the women had boarded a different plane, a Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Peshawar, where the group arrived on March 5th at 3 a.m..

The very same day, Rami M. and Naamen M.´s journey started. Naamen told his wife, he was about to make a pilgrimage to Saudi-Arabia. Instead, the two friends traveled to Pakistan via Turkey and Iranian Zahedan.

Two other members of the Taiba Mosque group, were Non-Arab and Non-Turkish white converts. Michael W., born 1985 in Kazakhstan, converted to Islam in his high school time in Germany, while the other convert, Alexander J., born 1980 in Chechnya, embraced the new faith in prison, serving a sentence on drug charges.

Both German citizens decided to travel to Pakistan via Austria, avoiding German intel monitoring. Alexander J. and Michael W. drove from Hamburg to Vienna on March 9th 2009, only to be questioned at the airport by Austrian authorities about the motives for their trip. „Vacation“, was the answer given by one of the two, „buying carpets“, said the other one.

Police became suspicious and searched the luggage of the strange Hamburg tourists. What they found was nothing vacation-like. Two documents indicated the converts were on their way fighting jihad.
„How To Behave in Jihad“ was the title of one of the papers. The other document was an Arabic reference letter written by „Ibrahim the Lebanese“ from Hamburg, a sort of entry ticket to the terror camps.

Indications were overwhelming, nevertheless Austrian airport security allowed the convert Salafis to board a Qatar Airways plane taking them from Vienna via Doha to Karachi. Upon the arrival, Pakistani police arrested Alexander J. and Michael W., interrogated them in prison before sending both back to Germany.

Mohammad M., the last one of the Taiba Mosque friends, was the only one who was arrested even prior to departing. German police approached the Iranian at Frankfurt Airport on March 9th and confiscated his passport.

Those who made it to Pakistan, met in Mir Ali, a known terrorist hub in Pakistani North Waziristan. The unusual tourist group from Hamburg – Ahmad S., Sulayman S., Shahab D., Naamen M., Rami M. and the two Jihadi wives – got in contact with militant groups in the tribal areas. Most of them joined the „Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan“ (IMU) and were sent immediately to the training camps for military courses because all of them lacked experienced in shooting guns or guerilla tactics.

Shahab D., the Iranian Shiite convert, appeared in an IMU-propaganda video in October 2009 for the first time, posing  as „Abu Askar“ with a huge black sword. „We have only left Germany and our parents, to bring victory to this religion!“, Shahab D. said in front of the camera, later stating there were numerous nationalities of Mujahideen fighting in Waziristan – „There are brothers from all over the world, from Tunesien, from Tajikistan, from Uzbekistan, from China, from Russia, from Turkey, from Europe and from Iran in the battle trenches“.

In a eulogy message for a German militant shot dead by Pakistani forces in September 2009, Shahab D. was again featured talking about his martyred friend and the virtue of Jihad.

Life in Waziristan was harder then the Hamburg-Islamists had thought. No running water, no electricity, food shortage, scorpions and snakes, sometimes no shower for days. The summer was burning hot, winter was freezing cold in the shacks of Waziristan. In addition, the CIA drones and Pakistani military operations took a high toll on the militants.

In Germany investigators were following the tracks of the Hamburg Jihadis, reading the e-mails they sent back home, wiretapping their calls to family and friends. „You know, Mom, our brothers are that brave, the American soldiers are even wearing diapers. They shit themselves when they see us. We shoot at their asses“ – Ahmad Wali S. told his mother in a phone call late December 2009, „Mom, the Americans are even rapping old men.“

The previous month, in November, Ahmad´s father came to visit his two sons in Waziristan, trying to convince them to return to Hamburg, return to safety and give up the idea of Jihad. He failed in the beginning, but in December 2009, Ahmad´s younger brother Sulayman S., abandoned a Mujahid´s life in Waziristan and traveled back to Germany. Sulayman was arrested at Frankfurt Airport on December 18th. He remained in custody for about a month, telling police about his time in the terror camps.

On January 6th 2010, Ahmad Wali S., called his parents – and German intelligence was listening again: „I have chosen the right path. I want everything to be correct on the day of judgement. I want my family to go to paradise. Some day, Mom, you will say: Well done, my son!“ Life in Germany is bad, S. explained, „You live with gays, lesbians, Jews and the kuffar.“

„My little brother had so much fun here“, Ahmad S. told his mother on the phone a week later, „I told him not to go back.“ The mother responded: „But he is sick. He screams every night.“ Ahmad S. assured Sulayman was happy in Waziristan. „I wish you had come here and had seen for yourself. Mom, wait until we conquer Afghanistan!“

In Waziristan they are no women on the streets, Ahmad S. told his parents, there is no sin, no temptation. In his job, working for multimedia section of IMU, he even got a salary, Ahmad S. claimed. In spring 2010, the calls became desperate, asking for money, saying the situation was difficult due to the US drone attacks.

Rami M., the chubby German-Syrian from Frankfurt, complained about long, rough hikes through the Pakistan-Afghanistan mountains, telling his father in Germany in an e-mail he walked for kilometers with a bazooka on his shoulder. „I want to be a martyr. Probably I will not survive the summer“, Rami M., assured his wife he left in Germany.

Late June, Ahmad S. contacted his sister in Hamburg, telling her he wants to return home and she should arrange an appointment with an psychiatrist for him. Indeed 36 year-old Ahmad S. left Waziristan and went to Afghan capital Kabul where US forces arrested him during a raid in July.
Since that day the Hamburg Islamist is held in custody at US Military Base Bagram, interrogated by the CIA.

What Ahmad S. told the Americans caused US and European security officials to raise the terror alert level in September. He underwent several terror training camps, Ahmad S. said, sent as a fighter of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan to Afghanistan for combat.
In early summer 2010, he told the interrogators, a special meeting took place in the town of Mir Ali, an event to remember the days of 9/11 and the Hamburg-connection. In Mir Ali, Ahmad S., Naamen M. and Shahab D. lived very close together. On that day, S. explained to the Americans in Bagram, he was introduced to a mysterious al-Qaeda figure, a North African spiritual leader called „Sheikh Younis al-Mauritani“. The Sheikh arrived in a Toyota SUV with darkened windows and introduced himself as al-Qaeda´s No.3.

Al-Mauritani convened the Mir Ali meeting and told Ahmad S. and the other Hamburg Jihadis, a special guest was about to arrive. The man who stepped into the hut was none other than Said Bahaji, one of the most wanted man in the world.

Bahaji, born in Germany in 1975, was a close comrade of the Hamburg 9/11 cell, lived in shared flat with Mohammed Atta. Investigators are sure, Bahaji was a main supporter of the al-Qaeda hijackers and knew of their plans. He fled Germany on September 3th 2001 to Karachi, since then disappeared in Pakistan.
Some years back, Bahaji still contacted his wife in Germany regularly via e-mail. That contact has run cold now. Last year, Pakistani troops captured the terrorist safe haven of South Waziristan and found in one of the buildings used by the militants, several ID-documents of European citizens, among them the German passport of Said Bahaji. It is no secret, the 9/11-supporter from Hamburg is alive and lives a terrorist´s life in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

Ahmad S., Naamen M. and Shahab D. met Said Bahaji and Sheikh al-Mauritani to learn the al-Qaeda leadership had a plan for a new 9/11-scale attack – this time attacking numerous European cities. The al-Qaeda Sheikh al-Mauritani told the Germans, he already sent sleeper cells to Italy and France, ready to strike at any time. Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, Ahmad S. was told, had approved the Europe-attacks and provided the needed money. Denmark, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands were also on the list of targets.

Naamen M., Rami M. and Ahmad S. should form the German cell for the upcoming attacks, Sheikh Al-Mauritani said. They shall be dispatched to Germany after receiving special training in Waziristan. In June, Ahmad S. claimed, he and the other Germans were trained for weeks in special courses on how to use encryption software to hide secret messages in e-mails and chat rooms. „Clean e-mail accounts“ were available to organize the logistics for the Europe plot which should be carried out in assault style attacks similar to the terror attack on Mumbai luxury hotels in November 2008.

For the first time, German investigators were allowed to visit Ahmad S., the prime source that revealed al-Qaeda´s major terror plans for Europe, some weeks ago. The Americans regard him as a  very valuable source of intelligence and they are not willing to hand him over to the German colleagues. Ahmad S. will most likely be sent to the U.S. for further questioning.

The German cell of the al-Qaeda plot it seems, is history now. One of its purported members, Rami M., was fed up with the Jihad idea. He called the German embassy in Pakistan on June 15th, asking for new passport documents to return to Germany. An appointment was made for June 21th, 9:30 a.m. in Islamabad and the German officials provided the 25 year-old Islamist with a written statement to leave the tribal areas without getting arrested by Pakistani security forces.

German police feared a suicide bombing carried out by Rami M. (perhaps a „second Abu Dujana al-Khorasani Case“). Pakistani security was alerted hinting them at the German-Syrian who was about to depart Waziristan. Near the town of Bannu, Pakistani troops finally arrested Rami M. on June 21th, wearing a white Burqa, sitting in the back of a car coming from Mir Ali.
After weeks of interrogation by the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, Rami M. was finally deported to Germany August 26th and is in prison since. His wife in Germany claims Rami was tortured and „tricked“ by German and Pakistani officials.

What the fate of the other friends from Hamburg Masjid Taiba is, remains a mystery. A US drone attacked a building near Mir Ali on October 4th, a house owned by the same Taliban man who was the driver of Rami M.´s car when he was arrested. Up to eight German militants were killed in the missile strikes, witnesses said.
Days after the attack, militant groups from the region reported Shahab D. and at least one other German Jihadi died in the Mir Ali drone attack. German officials received news, among the dead was also Naamen M., and the 20 year-old German-Turk Bünyamin E. of Wuppertal but there is no confirmation for these reports yet.

Connecting the dots and traces left behind by the Taiba Mosque Jihadi tourists, could lead to the assumption, nine years after 9/11, al-Qaeda again reached out to Hamburg Islamists to carry out a major terror attack wave against the West. The radicals were bred behind the doors of the very same mosque that had been the harbor and worship place for Mohammed Atta and his comrades. German authorities acted late, maybe even too late, in closing Masjid Taiba. Were they driven to act after the reports of the arrests of Rami M. and Ahmad S., and the information they provided?

Today the radical Salafis of Masjid Taiba still roam the streets of Hamburg St.Georg, coming together for Friday prayers in small basement rooms and private flats, making it very difficult for police and intelligence to track them and monitor their activities. Once they all gathered in one place, an almost sacred Jihadi temple, under the watchful eye of Anti-Terror investigators. Yet, a small group of hardliners was able to outsmart the hunters, succeeding in living the Jihadi dream, which became a nightmare for a some of them.

Three of the Hamburg Jihadi friends are back in Germany, one is in prison (Rami M.), two are living free without charges (Alexander J. and Michael W.). The two White converts were in contact with Ahmad S. and those living in Waziristan, who shared the stories of war and martyrdom with J. and W.. Michael W. is wearing a white robe on most days, grew a red beard and is described by neighbors as „friendly“ and „nice“. Police list him as an „instigator“ of Jihad – one of 132 living in Germany.
Sources:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,723640,00.html

German Newspaper „Stern“ No.41 2010

http://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article10127972/Deutsche-Islamisten-bei-Drohnenangriff-getoetet.html

http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,722196,00.html

German Newspaper SPIEGEL Nr.40 / 2010

German Newspaper SPIEGEL Nr.33 / 2010

Libyan Al-Qaeda Leader killed in Drone Strike (?)

by Florian Flade

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Pakistani intelligence sources are reporting, a US drone strike on a vehicle in Kushali district of North Waziristan, has killed a high-ranking al-Qaeda figure called Atiyyatullah Abdel Rahman on Thursday. The unnamed sources, quoted by news agencies, said at least two other al-Qaeda members were traveling with Abdel Rahman when their car was truck by two missiles fired from an unmanned CIA operated drone.

If true, this inccident would be rather significant because the allegedly killed al-Qaeda man was a fairly high-ranking commander in the terror network, maybe even in charge of appointing regional leaders of al-Qaeda.

Atiyyatullah Abdel Rahman appeared in two propaganda videos released by al-Qaeda´s As Sahab media, the last one in 2009. The Libyan Islamist is said to be in his 40s, and believed to have joined the Arab Mujahideen in the war against the Soviets as a young teenager in the late 1980s.

As a follower of the early al-Qaeda movement, Atiyyatullah was sent back to North Africa by Bin Laden and Zawahiri in 1993 to connect with the local Jihadi groups in Algeria.
Mystery remains on this period in Algeria, as some witnesses claim Atiyyatullah was not welcomed by the Armed Islamic Group (GIP) of Algeria. The extremists arrested the al-Qaeda ambassador, probably declaring him a spy.

Noman Benotman, a Libyan political activist living in exile in Britain, says, Atiyyatullah fled the captivity after five months of arrest and torture – a psychological event the young Jihadi never recovered from.

Shocked by the impact of internal fighting within the North African Jihadi groups, Atiyyatullah turned his back on militant Islam for some time. In the late 1990s the Libyan traveled to Afghanistan to get in contact with Osama Bin Laden again.

Near the western Afghan city of Herat, Atiyyatullah Abdel Rahman attended the training camps of Jordanian al-Qaeda affiliate Abu Musab az-Zarqawi until the al-Qaeda leadership made him a primary liaison to the North African militants, mainly the Salafi Group for Preaching and Combat (french – „GSPC“) which joined al-Qaeda in 2006.

After 9/11, Atiyyatullah Abdel Rahman fled Afghanistan and went into hiding in Iran from where he later established contacts with the early Iraqi insurgency groups like Ansar as-Sunnah.
On behalf of al-Qaeda´s central command, Atiyyatullah tried to be in steady contact with network´s representative in Iraq, az-Zarqawi.

By 2006, the Libyan al-Qaeda commander had returned to the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, probably joining AQ´s leadership in Pakistani Waziristan. From there Atiyyatullah wrote a letter to Abu Musab az-Zarqawi, telling him to review his strategy on fighting the Shiites in Iraq, not to kill scholars and tribal leaders as he wishes and not to take any major decisions without consulting Bin Laden, Zawahiri and other senior leaders.

„The brothers wish that they had a way to talk to you and advise you, and to guide and instruct you… however, they too are occupied with vicious enemies here“, Atiyyatullah wrote in the December 2006 letter, the U.S. military obtained in one of its raids.

All in all, the Libyan warned Zarqawi, he would be replaced if he does not stop the bloodshed of civilians, other Iraqi insurgent groups and local political and religious leaders.

In the 2009 As Sahab´s 9/11 anniversary tape, Atiyyatullah Abdel Rahman appeared for the first time in front of a propaganda camera without his face covered or hidden. Al-Qaeda presented the pale and teenage-looking as „Sheikh Attiyatullah“. He talked about the effect of the financial and economic crisis and about the evil of capitalism.

Referring to German al-Qaeda spokesman Bekkay Harrach alias „Abu Talha al Almani“, Atiyyatullah warned Germany of upcoming attacks, just a few days prior to the Parliamentary Elections in September 2009.
Al-Qaeda has offered the German people a chance to change the politics towards Muslims, the Libyan explained. „The party of Chancellor Angela Merkel – just as the Republican Party in America – is most likely the one to go to war“, Atiyyatullah Abdel Rahman said.

U.S. intelligence agencies regard the Libyan al-Qaeda man as a key figure in the propaganda campaign and organization of leadership structure in the post 9/11 network of al-Qaeda. A bounty of 1 Millionen US Dollars was offered in Fall 2007.

There is no doubt al-Qaeda will mourn and at the same time celebrate the „martyrdom“ of Sheikh Atiyyatullah, if the report of his death is correct. Time will tell.

It is also worth noting that three important positions within al-Qaeda were or are still held by Libyan nationals. Abu Yahya al-Libi, who some have pointed out as „The Next Bin Laden“, is acting as the „battlefield preacher“, giving sermons and supporting al-Qaeda´s cause with jihadi theology. Another Libyan, Abdullah Said al-Libi, was head of al-Qaeda´s military operations in Afghanistan – making him Bin Laden´s  „Secretary of Defence“ – until he was killed by a CIA drone in December 2009.