Update June 13th: Many readers will recognize this photo published again today at Gateway Pundit, Death to all Juice, turns out that the guy with the sign is one of these Jersey Jihadists!
Update June 8th: Somali professor blames it on the internet and radicalization at mosques, here.
Update June 7th: The Star Ledger tells us more about the Jersey Jihadists, here. Almonte converted to Islam about 5 years ago.
Update: Fox News is reporting that Alessa is of Palestinian descent and was born here. Almonte they say was born in the Dominican Republic.
Breaking News this morning! Two young men, both American citizens, were intercepted by the feds as they attempted to board a plane to join Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
Here is a bit of a very detailed story about Operation Arabian Knight from The Star Ledgers’ NJ.com:
Two New Jersey men intent on killing American troops were arrested Saturday as they boarded flights to link up with a virulent jihadist group in Somalia, authorities said.
The men, both North Jersey residents, were charged with conspiring to commit an act of international terrorism through a group tied to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network, according to officials familiar with the details of the arrests.
Mohamed Hamoud Alessa, 20, of North Bergen, and Carlos Eduardo Almonte, 26, of Elmwood Park were apprehended at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens before they could board separate flights to Egypt, where they were to start journeys to Somalia. The men were arrested by teams of state and federal law-enforcement agents who have been investigating the pair since October 2006, according to the officials, who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the operation publicly.
Late Saturday night, the state homeland security agency confirmed a police action at the airport but gave few details.
The case is similar to the one we have reported ad nauseam from Minnesota since 2008 (just search RRW for ‘somali missing youths’).
Authorities said the men planned to wage jihad as part of a Somalia-based Islamist terror group called al Shabaab, an organization of several thousand fighters spread through Somalia’s southern region. Al Shabaab, whose full Arabic name means “Mujahideen Youth Movement,” has had ties to al Qaeda since 2007, according to national security experts.*
Last year, federal authorities in Minnesota charged 14 men connected to a plot designed to entice young Americans to join up with al Shabaab. And, in February, the New York Times reported the group announced it was joining forces with the ‘’international jihad of Al Qaeda.”
As in the Minnesota case, investigators believe Alessa and Almonte were recruited by others, who are also now coming under scrutiny. “We hope this will lead to a spider web of arrests,” said one official briefed on the case.
* Isn’t that amusing, now national security experts say they knew since 2007 that Al Shabaab was connected to international terrorist groups like Al Qaeda! Why didn’t they report that to the Senate Homeland Security Committee hearings that I attended in March 2009, here? Senators Lieberman and Collins were very happy to hear from national security experts that the Somali missing youths were NOT connected with international terrorism.
Just a reminder that Somali reader Khadra has said that many Somali Muslim men born in the US (Hispanics too it looks like based on the name Carlos Almonte) have no intention of assimilating and are hellbent on violent Jihad.
More news! Jerry Gordon just sent this report from the Investigative Project on Terrorism on the Somali terrorist threat! By the way, the man interviewed in this report was at the Senate hearings in 2009 and warned the Senators about the real threat—that trained Jihadists with US passports would come back! The wheels of government work ever so slowly.
Related story yesterday: Somali Smuggler Walks, here.