Tag: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (page 3)

Houston Islamic School Confirms Abdulmutallab Attended Classes

The Al-Maghrib Institute in Houston, an Islamic learning center, confirmed today that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attended classes there in August, 2008. Authorities earlier disclosed Abdulmutallab's visa showed he was in Houston from August 1, 2008 to August 16, 2008.

The international institute is a nonprofit that teaches Islamic studies. It has a student body totaling more than 20,000, Basyouni said, and conducts seminars in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.

It's not a radical school and its Vice President says the subjects he lectures on include "reclaiming Islam from jihadists, focusing specifically on the issue of preventing terrorism."

Abdulmutallab supposedly wanted to study Sharia law. Houston has a Sharia Law Center, but this isn't it. The FBI has already visited the hotel he is believed to have stayed at, the Sheraton Houston Brookhollow Hotel.

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Abdulmutallab's Travel Route

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab' travel route:

Mr Abdulmutallab's route began in Yemen, from where he travelled to Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria. On 24 December, he flew from Lagos to Amsterdam, where he boarded the flight to Detroit.

He bought the ticket to Detroit on Dec. 16 in Ghana. So how could the plot have been retaliation for U.S. participation in Yemen's Dec 17 and 23 attacks on al Qaida as the group claims? They hadn't happened yet. Here's a link to the released statement in Arabic, with photos of Abdulmutallab and an airliner.

His roommate told the Yemen paper Abdulmutallab was in Yemen from July to October. The Yemen Government says he was there from early August to early December.

Did he train in Ethiopia or Ghana? Did he just stop in Nigeria to get the underwear? Where was the device actually made? Lots of questions still.

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Old News: Gitmo Detainee Released in 2007 Involved in Al Qaida in Yemen

It's been known for a long time that Said Ali al Shihri, believed to be al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula's (AQAP) second-in-command was released from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia in November 2007. Same for the second Guantanamo detainee Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, whose name is now Abu-al-Harith Muhammad al-Awfi. In other words, this ABC news story is not news.

Both were featured in the January, 2009 video announcing the formation of AQAP contained in Sada al-Malahim, (Arabic for “The Echo of Battle”), the group's online magazine. In January, 2009, the Stratford Group, had this long article on AQAP, the two released Gitmo detainees and why the Saudi's "rehabilitation" efforts to deprogram and reprogram them may have failed. [More...]

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Al Qaida AP Claims Connection to Detroit Failed Bomb Attack

Update: Here's a Nov. 2009 report on AQAP and Yemen.

Al Qaida-Arabian Peninsula (a merged group of Saudi and Yemeni al-Qaida cells I described here) has released a statement claiming the explosive device carried by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was manufactured by its members. It says the act was in retaliation for a U.S. operation against the group in Yemen.

Via Al-Jazeera: the group says "a technical fault prevented it from successfully detonating."

The U.S. assisted Yemen in carrying out two airstrikes against AQ-AP members this month, one on Dec. 23 and the other on Dec. 17. It's still not known who was killed in those attacks, but it is believed the group's top leaders were either not there or survived.

Abdulmutallab snuck into Nigeria the day before boarding the Detroit flight in Amsterdam. It's not clear when he last was in Yemen, although his roomate has told a Yemeni paper he arrived in July and left in October. [More...]

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Arab Media Not Too Interested in al-Qaida's Yemen Ties

Foreign policy expert Marc Lynch points out the Christmas Day bomb attempt by Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab is barely causing a stir in the Arab media.

Whether it's AQ or not, nobody in Arab media cares

I don't know what kind of contacts the failed airplane bomber did or didn't have with Al-Qaeda Central or Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and neither does anybody else who has commented since it happened. The extent of such contacts will be mildly interesting, but it surprises nobody working on CT issues that there are still people swimming in the AQ milieu who want to hit the United States, whether on their own or with support from some AQ affiliates. One of the real stories here, which has gone largely unremarked in the coverage I've seen, is that the Arab media generally couldn't care less.


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Terrorism Charges Filed in Detroit Airplane Incident

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23 year old Nigerian who was apprehended after a foiled attempt to allegedly detonate an explosive device on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, has been charged via complaint in the Eastern District of Michigan with willful attempt to destroy an aircraft and willfully placing and causing to be placed a destructive device on an aircraft. Both carry up to 20 years in prison. The DOJ manual explains the offenses here. The statute is here. Abdulmutallab is charged under sections (a)(1), (a)(2) and (a)(8).

[P]assengers told authorities that Abdulmutallab went into a bathroom on the plane for about 20 minutes. When he returned, he said he had a stomach ache and covered himself with a blanket. Moments later, passengers heard a pop, smelled smoke and the ensuing fire.

A preliminary FBI analysis found that the device contained the high explosive pentaerythritol, according to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint. The FBI also found what look like remnants of a syringe believed to have been part of the device.

The complaint is here (pdf.) The Government alleges that PETN is a destructive device under 18 USC 921 (a)(4). A passenger took a smoking syringe from Abdulmutallab, shook it to make it stop smoking and threw it on the floor of the aircraft. (Interesting that the passenger knew to do that. Sounds risky and dangerous to me.) [More...]

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