January 18, 2022

Would-Be Terrorist Educated for Jihad at Texas Gun Vary, Feds Allege

4 min read


When Navy sailors shot and killed a terrorist in the midst of an assault on a army base in Texas final yr, the investigation appeared like it might be short-lived. The shooter, Adam Alsahli, was lifeless and there have been no obvious accomplices within the assault.

However textual content messages despatched by Alsahli on the morning of the assault have led the FBI to a different Texas pupil whom regulation enforcement accuses of harboring extremist views. Over the previous few months, prosecutors in Texas have sketched out Alsahli’s hyperlinks to a felony case involving an FBI informant, firearms coaching, and an alleged plan to journey to Gaza to wage β€œjihad.”

In July, federal prosecutors charged Moctar Gouroudja Ahmadou, a Nigerian immigrant who got here to the U.S. on a pupil visa in 2016, with unlawful possession of a firearm after an FBI surveillance group adopted him to a Houston-area gun vary and allegedly noticed him firing handguns and an AR-15 assault rifle.

In court docket paperwork and a subsequent detention listening to, regulation enforcement painted a extra dire image of Ahmadou than the only gun cost would counsel. Ahamdou, regulation enforcement officers argued, was a hazard to the neighborhood who had β€œexpressed a want to journey abroad for each schooling functions and doubtlessly for violent jihad.”

The costs in opposition to Ahmadou haven’t been reported and, to this point, prosecutors have been reluctant to say a lot concerning the case. The Justice Division issued no press launch about Ahmadou’s arrest and the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace in Houston didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Ahmadou’s attorneys additionally declined a request for remark however in court docket, public defender Philip Gallagher argued that his consumer had not β€œreally not mentioned ever doing something dangerous to anybody inside the US” and that, regardless of at instances 24-hour surveillance on Ahmadou by regulation enforcement, brokers had little to indicate by means of a hazard to the neighborhood from him.

Alsahli, a pupil who had expressed help for jihadist teams on social media, drove to the Naval base early one morning in Could 2020 and shot at a guard earlier than safety personnel returned hearth and killed him. Nobody was killed within the assault apart from Alsahli and a ballistic vest saved the lifetime of the sailor he shot within the chest.

Ahmadou’s identify first surfaced when FBI brokers went by Alsahli’s telephone within the wake of the Corpus Christi base taking pictures and located he’d despatched a message to Ahmadou and a bunch of roughly eight folks by the encrypted WhatsApp messaging app on the day of the assault.

FBI brokers combing by Aslahi’s textual content and social media accounts discovered that the 2 males, each finding out in Texas faculties, had been in communication previous to the assault. Prosecutors say Ahmadou would textual content Alsahli Quranic verses and at one level had requested him by an middleman about β€œan elephant within the room regarding jihad.” Ahmadou, an FBI agent testified throughout a current detention listening to, β€œneeded to know if he wanted dad and mom’ permission to commit jihad.”

After the FBI discovered of Ahmadou’s hyperlinks to the Corpus Christi shooter, brokers approached him by an unnamed β€œpaid confidential supply,” who secretly recorded conversations with the Nigerian man and reported on his actions to the FBI.

The recordings, detailed by regulation enforcement in court docket, allegedly present Ahamdou citing a speech by Anwar al-Awlak, an al Qaeda preacher killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen after he attracted a following of English-speaking extremists, calling for would-be jihadists to coach with firearms as his motivation to be taught extra about weapons.

Brokers additionally allegedly discovered Ahmadou downloaded sermons by ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, who issued a 2014 name for ISIS followers within the West to kill non-Muslims.

All through his conversations with the FBI’s informant, Ahmadou allegedly expressed a want to β€œjourney to Egypt, to Palestine, to Israel and Gaza,” notably in Could 2021 as combating between Israeli forces and the terrorist group Hamas reached a peak so as β€œto check” and β€œjourney to Gaza to presumably additional commit violent jihad,” in response to testimony from an FBI agent assigned to the case.

That month, Ahmadou allegedly traveled to a Houston-area gun vary together with the FBI’s confidential supply, the place undercover FBI brokers ready on the vary took pictures and noticed him firing two hand weapons and an AR-15 assault rifle, in response to a felony grievance.

Brokers grew involved, nevertheless, when Ahmadou allegedly expressed curiosity in receiving extra intensive weapons coaching, together with a sniper course and a coaching routine that may educate him tips on how to shoot targets whereas shifting. Shortly afterwards, brokers arrested Ahmadou and charged him with unlawful possession of a firearm for his time on the firing vary. Underneath federal regulation, non-immigrant visa holders are forbidden from possessing firearms.

Ahmadou has pleaded not responsible. A federal choose dominated him a possible flight threat and a attainable hazard to the neighborhood because of his international ties and alleged help of ISIS and ordered him detained pending a trial in January. Court docket data present the prosecutors requested a classification data safety officer assigned to the case and that the prosecution will depend on categorised data to attempt the case.

When requested at a detention listening to in July whether or not Ahmadou had plans for any violence within the U.S., a FBI agent testified that the Bureau was β€œnonetheless investigating presently.”

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