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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

ADL: Shahzad the latest American citizen from Pakistan arrested on terror-related charges

The ADL provides background information about recent activity involving Pakistani terror training and individuals allegedly involved in terror-related activities. 



Following his arrest, Shahzad reportedly told investigators that he had previously received bomb-making training in Waziristan, an Al Qaeda and Taliban stronghold which serves as a center for launching attacks against U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan.


Shahzad's family is from northwestern Pakistan, an Al Qaeda and Taliban stronghold, according to Pakistan's Interior Minister.  Shahzad returned to the U.S. from a five-month trip to Pakistan three months prior to the attempted bombing.   


Pakistani officials have detained one man in Karachi in connection with the case.  At least four others have reportedly been detained in Pakistan for questioning.  Among those detained in Pakistan are Tauhid Ahmed, who reportedly communicated with Shahzad via email, and Muhammad Rehan, who told investigators that he and Shahzad traveled to Peshawar, Pakistan, for three weeks in July 2009.  Rehan was arrested at a mosque reportedly linked to Pakistani-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed.


In videos circulated on the Internet, leaders of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attempted bombing as revenge for the April killings of Al Qaeda's two top leaders in Iraq, as well as for U.S. interference in Muslim countries.  Federal officials, however, have not found any evidence to support the claims.


While no motive has been determined in the attempted bombing, Shahzad is the latest American citizen from Pakistan to be arrested on terror-related charges.


The following is a list of Pakistani Americans arrested, charged or convicted on terror-related offenses in recent years:


  • Raja Lahrasib Khan, a naturalized American citizen from Pakistan, was arrested on March 26, 2010, for providing funds to an alleged terrorist leader in Pakistan and for planning to bomb a U.S. stadium.

  • Syed Haris Ahmed, naturalized American citizen born in Pakistan and raised in Georgia, and Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, a U.S. citizen of Bangladeshi descent, were sentenced on December 14, 2009, to 17 and 13 years in prison, respectively, for shooting casing videos of U.S. landmarks for potential terrorist attacks in the Washington, D.C. area.  In July 2005, Ahmed traveled to Pakistan with the intention to study at a religious school, attend a terrorist training camp and join Lashkar-e-Taiba, according to the indictment.

  • Six U.S. citizens and a permanent resident were arrested on July 27, 2009 for engaging in weapons training and conspiring to carry out "violent jihad" overseas.  An eighth suspect, who has been identified as Jude Kenan Muhammad, is reportedly still at large and believed to be in Pakistan.  Muhammad, a 20-year old American citizen from Raleigh who reportedly holds Pakistani and American passports, was reportedly arrested in October 2008 for attempting to travel to restricted tribal areas in Pakistan, but was later released.  

  • Javed Iqbal, a naturalized American citizen from Pakistan, and American citizen Saleh Elahwal were sentenced in June 2009 to nearly six years in prison and 17 months in prison, respectively, for distributing broadcasts of Al Manar, Hezbollah's TV station, and providing material support to Hezbollah.

  • Uzair Paracha, a U.S. permanent resident from Pakistan, was sentenced on July 20, 2006, to 30 years in prison for attempting to help an Al Qaeda operative enter the U.S. in order to carry out an attack on gas stations on behalf of the international terrorist network.

  • A group of nine American citizens and one legal permanent resident, dubbed the "Virginia Jihad Network" by prosecutors, were convicted on terrorism charges related to the Pakistani-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET) in Alexandria, Virginia, between 2003 and 2005.  The leader of the group Ali al-Timimi, an American-born Muslim cleric, urged the men to train at LET terrorist camps in preparation to fight against American-led forces in Afghanistan. The men trained with weapons in Virginia and seven of the defendants traveled to Pakistan to train with LET. 

  • Pakistani-born American Mohammed Junaid Babar pleaded guilty in June 2004 to supplying money and materials, including night-vision goggles, sleeping bags and other items, to an Al Qaeda official setting up a terrorist training camp in Pakistan and plotting to assassinate Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf in 2002.

  • Imran Mandhai, a U.S. permanent resident from Pakistan, Shueyb Mossa Jokhan, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Trinidad, plotted to bomb several targets in Southern Florida in 2002, including Jewish-owned businesses in Weston, the Israeli Consulate in Miami, Jewish community centers in Aventura and Broward County, electrical power stations in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, the National Guard Armory in Hollywood and Mount Rushmore.  The men planned to set off a series of explosives that would cause massive power blackouts in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, which they hoped would result in lootings and chaos in Southern Florida

Other Americans charged with terror-related offenses have traveled to Pakistan to attend terror training camps, including:


  • Zarein Ahmedzay, an American citizen from Afghanistan, pleaded guilty on April 23, 2010, to planning to detonate homemade explosives on the New York City subway system.  In August 2008, Ahmedzay, Najibullah Zazi, a U.S. permanent resident from Afghanistan, and Adis Medunjanin, an American citizen from Bosnia, traveled to Pakistan, where they received "military-style" training from Al Qaeda, which, according to Attorney General Eric Holder, helped prepare them for "one of the most serious terrorist threats to our country since September 11, 2001."

  • Five American students – Ramy Zamzam, Umer Farooq Chaudhry, Ahmed Minni, Aman Hassan Yemer, and Waqar Hussain Khan – were detained in Pakistan on December 9, 2009, for planning terrorist attacks in Pakistan and on Afghan and U.S. territory.  The students, who allegedly planned to cross into Afghanistan to fight against U.S. troops, traveled to the region to attend terrorist training camps operated by Pakistani-based terrorist groups Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

  • American citizen Ahmad Abousamra and Tarek Mehanna, a Massachusetts man with dual American and Egyptian citizenship, were charged in an indictment handed down on November 5, 2009, with  plotting to attack a U.S. shopping mall and American soldiers in Iraq.  Abousamra, who remains at large, made two trips to Pakistan in 2002 to "obtain training in furtherance of jihad" and to join the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani-based terrorist organization with links to Al Qaeda.  Following Abousamra's failure to join a terrorist group in Pakistan, he and Mehanna began to explore other options, including committing terrorist acts in the U.S.

  • Six U.S. citizens and a permanent resident were arrested on July 27, 2009 for engaging in weapons training and conspiring to carry out "violent jihad" overseas.  Daniel Patrick Boyd, the apparent ringleader of the group, allegedly attended terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan from 1989 to 1992.  An eighth suspect, who has been identified as Jude Kenan Muhammad, is reportedly still at large and believed to be in Pakistan.  

  • Christopher Paul, an American citizen from Ohio, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on February 26, 2009, for planning terrorist attacks in the U.S. and Europe. Paul's alleged ties to Al Qaeda date back to the early 1990s when he traveled to a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan and later joined Al Qaeda in Pakistan

  • Bryant Neal Vinas, an American citizen from Long Island, pleaded guilty on January 28, 2009, to providing information about New York City transit systems to Al Qaeda for potential terrorist attacks and to firing rockets at an American military base near the Pakistan and Afghanistan border. Vinas arrived in northwestern Pakistan in the fall of 2007 "with the intention of meeting and joining a jihadist group to fight American soldiers." Soon after arriving in Pakistan, Vinas was accepted into Al Qaeda and received "military-type training" from Al Qaeda in general combat and explosives.  He also reportedly learned how to shoot rockets and assault rifles and how to assemble a suicide bomber's vest. 

  • American citizen Hamid Hayat, who attended Al Qaeda training camps in Pakistan between 2000 and 2004, was sentenced to 24 years in prison in September 2007 for providing material support or resources to terrorists.  Hayat's father, Umer Hayat, a naturalized American citizen, was arrested with Hamid and charged with financing his son's trip to Pakistan and lying to federal agents.

  • Mahmud Faruq Brent, a U.S. citizen who was born in Akron, Ohio and later moved to Gwynn Oak, Maryland, was sentenced to 15 years in July 2007 for conspiring to send aid to LET and attending a terrorist training camp in Pakistan in 2002.  Tariq Shah, an American-born Muslim convert who was sentenced in 2007 to 15 years in prison for conspiracy to provide material support to Al Qaeda, trained Brent in martial arts and urban warfare "as part of the conspiracy to provide material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba," according to court documents.