Anwar Al-Awlaki may have been killed in a drone strike last fall, but the American cleric”s legacy is still a draw for potential American jihadist recruits, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are warning.
A new FBI/Homeland Security intelligence bulletin, first obtained by Fox News, says al Qaeda in Yemen, also known as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), is determined to cultivate new American recruits and suggests a new memorial video, released in late December after the American cleric”s death in a CIA-led strike, may prompt his followers to act.
Prepared for federal, state and local law enforcement, analysts write that the new tribute video “encourages Western-based Muslims to commit violence,” adding that the “video could inspire violent extremists in the West to conduct attacks.”
Awlaki, who appears in the video released Dec. 20, speaks in English from beyond the grave, stating that “jihad against America is binding.” While the bulletin states, “We have no indication that the timing of the video”s release or any content … is related to specific, ongoing plotting against the homeland,” federal law enforcement and military are urged “to remain vigilant for signs of terrorist plotting and to report suspicious activities.”
The warning was revealed as two new cases, one in Florida, the other in Maryland, underscore the threat of digital jihad. According to a criminal complaint released on Monday, 25-year-old Sami Osmakac was accused of attempting to use car bombs to target two Florida nightclubs, a sheriff”s office.
Like Awlaki, Osmakac used the web to spread his alleged ideology of hate. Even after his arrest over the weekend, Osmakac”s Youtube videos were still online. In one 12-minute tape, provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute, he rambles on about Allah, circumcision and Marxism.
In the second case, 24-year-old Maryland native Craig Baxam, a former member of the Army, made his first court appearance Monday after being accused of traveling to Somalia to join the al Qaeda affiliate, al-Shabaab. According to a criminal complaint, Baxam was radicalized on the Internet without any direct contact with a foreign terrorist organization. He allegedly read a piece about the day of judgment on an Islamist website.
Watch this Fox News clip about Sami Osmakac