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Friday, May 7, 2010

New Yorkers Arrested As Al Qaeda Members, Technical Advisors

With Times Square dominating the attention of most terrorism watchers last week, the indictment of two new American Al Qaeda operatives went largely unnoticed. The two New Yorkers were charged with providing technology, technical assistance and money to Al Qaeda.

WESAM EL-HANAFI, a/k/a "Khaled," and SABIRHAN HASANOFF, a/k/a "Tareq," the defendants, would and did agree to provide al Qaeda with, among other things, computer advice and assistance, services, and currency. [...]

Apparently Al Qaeda didn't get the memo that they're broke, because these guys raised about $50,000 for operations, according to the indictment, although the flow of money isn't totally clear. El-Hanafi also met "two members of Al Qaeda" in Yemen. No word on whether everyone's favorite American cleric Anwar Awlaki was one of them.

Hanafi and Hasanoff seem to be serious operators, allegedly recruiting people in the United States to join Al Qaeda and accepting bayat oaths of allegiance on behalf of the organization.

El-Hanafi also purchased seven Casio watches for Al Qaeda. These watches have become notorious as a jihadi fashion statement after Ramzi Yousef figured out how to make a similar model into a timer-detonator for very small but powerful bombs.

Click here for full document.

This is just the latest indicator that the Al Qaeda threat, as we knew it before 9/11, has not disappeared, even if the particulars of its organization have changed. To put it in some perspective, the September 11 attacks cost about $500,000 to pull off. These guys had at least $50,000 to work with, whether they raised it here or abroad, and that's enough money to get something done.

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INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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