Foreign Terrorist Groups Direct Operatives to Attack US says NJOHSP

By the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness

Foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) maintain the ability to train operatives to plot external operations in the United States while supporters and affiliates focus on regional conflicts.

Since 2019, three FTOs have instructed and supported a foreign national to engage in pre-operational planning to conduct an attack in the United States, resulting in one attacker killing three US sailors and wounding eight others before responding officers killed him.

  • On December 15, the US Department of Justice charged Cholo Abdi Abdullah, a 30-year-old Kenyan national, with six counts of terrorism-related offenses for plotting to hijack an aircraft and conduct a 9/11-style attack in the United States.

(The FBI says Cholo Abdi Abdullah, an al Qaeda-inspired terrorist, was attending flight school, planning to come to the U.S. to fly a plane into a skyscraper. Courtesy of TODAY and YouTube. Posted on Dec 17, 2020.)

    • Senior leaders of al-Shabaab, a Salafi-jihadist group that supports al-Qa’ida in East Africa, directed Abdullah to obtain pilot training in 2016 in the Philippines and to test flaws in airport security.

    • The group coined the operation, “Jerusalem will never be Judaized,” referring to US support for Israel and its embassy moving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May 2018.

    • Abdullah was first arrested in the Philippines in July 2019 on local charges and remained in that country’s custody until he was transferred to US law enforcement on December 15, 2020.

  • In February, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a video claiming responsibility for the attack at a Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, in December 2019. 

(Four people, including the gunman, were killed and eight others were injured in a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola. The gunman, Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a Saudi Arabian national, and a pilot-in-training for the Saudi Air Force had been training in the United States since 2017. Airman Apprentice Cameron Walters, Airman Mohammed Haitham and Ensign Joshua Watson have been identified as the victims killed during the shooting. Courtesy of TODAY and YouTube. Posted on Dec 8, 2019.)

    • Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, an officer in the Saudi Air Force participating in a military training program at the base, killed three sailors and wounded eight others after legally purchasing a firearm.

    • Law enforcement revealed in May that Alshamrani was radicalized as far back as 2015, directly associating with several AQAP operatives to plan an attack.

  • In July 2019, Alexei Saab, a 42-year-old New Jersey resident, was arrested for his support of Hizballah.

(Alex Nain Saab Moran (Saab), 47, a citizen of Colombia, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and seven counts of money laundering. The U.S. DOJ indictment also alleges and seeks forfeiture in excess of $350 million representing the amount of funds involved in the violation. (Courtesy of WPLG Local 10 and YouTube. Posted on Jul 10, 2020.)

    • While living in the United States, Saab served as a Hizballah operative conducting surveillance of multiple targets in major cities to help the group plot potential future attacks.

    • Prior to entering the United States in 2000 and becoming a naturalized citizen in 2008, Saab joined Hizballah in 1996 in Lebanon, where he observed and reported on the movements of Israeli troops.

Originally posted here.

New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness
New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness

The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness leads and coordinates New Jersey’s counterterrorism, cybersecurity, and emergency preparedness efforts while building resiliency throughout the State.

Editor’s note: Our thoughts and prayers forever remain with the families of Airman Apprentice Cameron Walters, Airman Mohammed Haitham and Ensign Joshua Watson.

Thank you for your bravery in serving the citizens of our Nation, with pride and distinction.

All give some, some give all. You will not be forgotten.

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