Today’s Terrorism News

In Association with The Soufan Group

Minnesota Man Pleads Guilty to Terror Recruitment Role

A Somali-American man in Minnesota pleaded guilty Monday to a charge that he helped Minneapolis-area Somali men travel to their homeland to take up arms with the terror group al Shabab, according to reports. Omer Abdi Mohamed, 26, faces up to 15 years in prison for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, “specifically admitting that he helped provide people in a conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim people in a foreign country,” according to the AP. Mohamed reportedly admitted to being present at meetings where recruitment planning took place, to being present when money was raised, and to helping obtain plane tickets for recruits traveling to Somalia, according to Reuters.

Mohamed’s plea came just before the start of what would have been the first trial in a series of indictments into terror recruitment among Somalis in the Minnesota area. Five other people have pleaded guilty to charges in the investigation.
U.S. Somali Man Pleads Guilty to Terror Charge (AP)
Minnesota Man Pleads Guilty to Aiding Somali Militants (Reuters)
Minnesota Man Admits Somalia Terror Plot (BBC News)
Another Conviction in the al-Shabab Recruitment Investigation (Lawfare blog)

NEPHEW TESTIFIES AGAINST DEFENDANT AT TERROR TRIAL
The nephew of Mohammed Wali Zazi testified on Monday at the start of his uncle’s trial in New York that his uncle ordered family members to destroy evidence of bomb-making supplies and to lie to investigators, according to multiple reports. But the witness, who has pleaded guilty to terror-related charges, also said that he had repeatedly lied to the FBI and “offered confusing and at times conflicting testimony” during his time on the stand, reports the New York Times.

Mohammed Zazi is charged with lying to prosecutors and destroying evidence in the case against his son, who last year pleaded guilty to plotting to bomb the NYC subway. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Nephew Testifies for Prosecution in Trial of Mohammed Wali Zazi (NYT)
Cousin Admits Role in NYC Subway Terror Plot (AP)
Father of Would-Be Terrorist Najibullah Zazi Hid Bomb Materials, Relative Testifies (NY Daily News)
Trial Begins for Father of NYC Bomb Ploter Accused of Misleading FBI (CNN)
Father of New York Bomb-Plotter Najibullah Zazi Hid Evidence, U.S. Says (Bloomberg)
Trial Divides Zazi Kin (WSJ)

REPORT: AL QAEDA’S STRATEGY FOCUSED ON U.S. TARGETS OVERSEAS
The Wall Street Journal reports that, under Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda will likely shift focus to attacking U.S. targets overseas rather than the U.S. homeland because overseas targets are considered more vulnerable and attacks easier to execute. U.S. officials say they believe the strategy is more compatible with the goals of al Qaeda’s affiliates in Yemen and Pakistan. The “shift in strategy for al Qaeda’s leadership [also] comes as its affiliates are forging closer ties with each other.” U.S. officials believe AQAP in Yemen is forging ties with Somalia’s al Shabab to pursue attacks in Africa.
Al Qaeda Seen Aiming at Targets Outside U.S. (WSJ)
Related:
Latest Issue of Inspire Highlights al Qaeda Succession (Long War Journal)
Al Qaeda’s 9/11 Obsession (Daily Beast: Bruce Riedel)
The Haqqani Network: Al Qaeda’s Dangerous Patron (WaPo’s Checkpoint Washington)

MORE U.S. NEWS AND OPINION
Imam Arrests Show Shift in Muslim Outreach Effort (NPR)
Iraqi Refugees in U.S. Rechecked in U.S. for Terrorism Links (LAT)
Attack Suspect Battles His Own Lawyers (WSJ)
Post-9/11, Biggest Terror Threat Is Underground (AP)
Sept. 11 Families Seek Meeting with FBI on Hacking (Reuters)
Headed for CIA, Petraeus Leaves a Revamped Warzone (AP via ABC News)
The ‘Right Stuff’ for a Drone Pilot (Time’s Battleland)
Rare Glimpse Inside a Predator Drone Control Station (Space.com via Fox News)

MORE WORLD NEWS AND OPINION
Russia Says Militant Attack Foiled in Moscow (Reuters)
Xinjiang Police Attack Was Terrorism, China Says (BBC News)
China Shunning Palau for Taking Uighurs: President (AFP)
UK Photo Exhibit Shows Alleged U.S. Drone Strike Deaths (AP)
Barack Obama Accused of Crimes Against Humanity for bin Laden Killing (Telegraph)
Yemen:
Al Qaeda Fugitive in Yemen Gets Away Again (WaPo)
The War on Terror, Now Starring Yemen and Somalia (Salon’s Glenn Greenwald)
Countering the Threat Posed by AQAP: Embrace, Don’t Chase, Yemen’s Chaos (Selected Wisdom)

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