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‘Motivated’ by Beheadings: Bronx Man Arrested

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A man from the Bronx, New York was arrested and ordered held with bail Tuesday on terrorism charges.  Sajmir Alimehmeti, 22, was charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIS and making a false statement in an application for applying for a U.S. passport. 

Investigators found that Alimehmeti, a native of Albania who also used the name Andul Qawii and enjoyed watching beheading videos to get “motivated” while exercising, had been trying to join the Islamic State since the fall of 2014. He was refused entry to the UK when his camouflage pants and shirt and the nunchuks in his luggage aroused the suspicions of officials at Manchester Airport. After confiscating his laptop and cell phone, they found the two devices were loaded with pictures of Islamic State flags and propaganda videos. He was subsequently sent back to the U.S. and the FBI was notified.

In a raid of his apartment in the Bronx, investigators found Islamic State flags and the passport he claimed he had lost. Wrapped around the passport was $2,400.

Upon his return from the UK, according to court documents, Alimehmeti began collecting weapons and accessories, including two steel spike knives, an Air Force survival knife, a credit card-sized folding knife,  a 24-inch survival pocket chain saw, a reversible face mask, handcuffs and gloves with steel knuckles.

In the fall of 2015, an undercover agent made contact with Alimehmeti, who the would-be terrorist thought was a fellow jihadi.

Alimehmeti was arrested previously for robbery, assault, forcible touching and public lewdness.

In Kansas, a man pleaded guilty to aiding an attempted bombing of a Kansas military post by an Islamic State supporter.

Alexander E. Blair, 29, faces up to five years in prison for lending John T. Booker $100 for storage of a bomb Blair knew Booker was planning to detonate at Fort Riley to “kill as many soldiers as possible.”

Blair met Booker, who also goes by the name of Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, at a mosque in Topeka. Prosecutors charged that Blair shared Booker’s vision of waging jihad against the American military. However, upon his arrest by FBI agents, Blair said, “He wanted me to go with him. I told him no. I didn't want to join the Jihad."

He said he didn’t inform the authorities for the four months that he knew of Booker’s plan because, as he told FBI agents, "I thought I was being followed so I figured you guys would know something of it."

Blair originally pleaded not guilty but changed his plea when he realized that the government had sufficient evidence to convict him. He remains free until the sentencing which is expected in August.

Booker, meanwhile, took as accomplices two FBI informants. The bomb he stored with Blair’s money was in reality inert. Booker faces up to 30 years after pleading guilty in a plea bargain to attempting use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to destroy government property by fire or explosion.

 

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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