Thursday, January 19, 2006

Al Qaeda Member Iyman Faris Also Linked to Jamaat ul-Fuqra?

The list of Jamaat ul-Fuqra's connections to Al Qaeda just keeps growing. (See here, here, and here).

Remember the Ohio truck driver that was convicted for being part of an plot to blowtorch his way through the cables of the Brooklyn Bridge and drop it into the East River?
[Image credit: George Fetting]

His name is Iyman Faris. Maybe he should change his name to Iyman Idiot. Apparently, he's in jail 'til 2020. Although, the US DOJ press release from 2003 regarding his sentencing said he was to get 20 years. That would make it 2023. Do they let terrorists out early on "good behavior"?

Nonetheless, in an article for the Asia Times, Indian terrorism expert and former intelligence official B. Raman denotes the U.S. presence of organizations affiliated with Bin Laden's International Islamic Front, such as Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), as well as Tablighi Jamaat (TJ), and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM). He focuses mostly on LET, calling it an Al Qaeda clone as all of these organizations are both similar and interconnected - pointing out that "Abu Zubaidah, then No 3 in al-Qaeda, was arrested...from the house of a LET leader...."

Among the rogue's gallery of terrorists, he mentions Faris -

...Iyman Faris,also known as Mohammad Rauf, originally a resident of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), who had migrated to the US in 1994 and was working as a truck driver in Ohio and charged him with having links with al-Qaeda and Khalid Shaikh Mohammad...

According to FBI officials, as quoted in the US media, Faris had visited Afghanistan and Pakistan a number of times between 2000 and 2002, met bin Laden and worked with Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, in organizing and financing jihad causes. After returning to the US from Pakistan in late 2002, officials said, he began examining the Brooklyn Bridge and discussing via coded messages with al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan ways of using blow torches to sever the suspension cables.

The plotting continued through March, as Faris sent coded messages to operatives in Pakistan. One such message said that the "weather is too hot". FBI officials have been quoted as saying that meant that Faris feared the plot was unlikely to succeed - apparently because of security and the bridge's structure - and should be postponed. He was arrested soon thereafter. According to media reports, the interrogation of Khalid led the FBI to Faris.

It is reported that while there is no evidence so far to connect Faris with the other 11 accused belonging to the LET, the FBI is looking into this possibility. Sources in Pakistan describe Faris, aged 34, as a Punjabi ex-serviceman settled in POK, before he migrated to the US. It is said that he was associated in the past with the Jamaat-ul-Fuqra (JUF), an anti-Jewish and anti-Hindu terrorist organization of Pakistan, which is reported to have a large network in the US, Canada and the Caribbean. It was involved in a number of violent incidents against Jewish and Hindu interests in the US in the early 1990s and its activities were cited in the annual reports of the US State Department titled "Patterns of Global Terrorism".

Last year, Pakistani police alleged that Daniel Pearl, the US journalist, had gone to Pakistan from Mumbai in India to enquire into the possible links of the JUF with the shoe bomber who had unsuccessfully tried to cause an explosion in a US aircraft flying from France to the US. Pearl was trapped by a joint group of terrorists from different Pakistani organizations belonging to bin Laden's IIF, kidnapped and murdered.
Daniel Pearl was attempting to meet Sheikh Gilani, founder of Jamaat ul-Fuqra, who some suspected of personally ordering Reid's mission. Members of several jihadi organizations were involved in Pearl's kidnapping. It is believed that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) personally beheaded Pearl.

Needless to say, Iyman Faris' connection to KSM reveals his deep affiliation with Al Qaeda. If he is also linked with Jamaat ul-Fuqra, this reinforces evidence of the interconnectedness of these terrorist networks.

Meanwhile, a new Bin Laden tape surfaced today renewing a threat to attack within the United States. Will Gilani's associates be part of this plot as well?

1 comment:

Heloise said...

Dang, CP, you're on a roll. Valuable info, please share it with your local DHS if you haven't already. Keep up the good work.