//Who’s the FBI’s most wished American terrorist? Meet Jehad Serwan Mostafa

Who’s the FBI’s most wished American terrorist? Meet Jehad Serwan Mostafa

Late final yr, the U.S. authorities upped the ante on Jehad Serwan Mostafa – a 38-year-old American citizen and former San Diego resident – branding him probably the most wished American terrorist on the planet.

“Mostafa is believed to be the highest-ranking United States citizen preventing abroad for a terrorist organization,” U.S. Legal professional Robert Brewer said. “Al-Shabab’s reign of terror threatens U.S. national security, our international allies, and innocent civilians.”

In accordance with a lately unsealed federal indictment, the U.S. citizen – who has for years been on the FBI’s Most Wished Terror listing – has been charged with further crimes associated to his alleged involvement with Al Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabab in East Africa.

Jehad Serwan Mostafa, 38, is considered the FBI's Most Wanted American Terrorist for his ties with the Al Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab terrorist group in East Africa.

Jehad Serwan Mostafa, 38, is taken into account the FBI’s Most Wished American Terrorist for his ties with the Al Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab terrorist group in East Africa.
(FBI)

Mostafa was first indicted in 2010, having fled the U.S. in December 2005. The superseding indictment expands the scope of the earlier expenses. It claims that Mostafa, sooner or later between March 2008 to at the very least February 2017, “conspired to provide material support, including himself as personnel to terrorists.”

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Now working beneath “Ahmed Gurey,” “Ahmed,” “Abu Anwar al-Muhajir” and “Abu Abdullah al-Muhajir,” the FBI said that Mostafa is a frontrunner in Al-Shabab’ s “explosives department,” and has taken on important roles throughout the media and soldier coaching wings. He has been implicated in bettering the effectiveness of improvised explosive gadgets for functions of attacking U.S. pursuits and soldier bases within the space, authorities officers have said.

However sources instructed Fox Information his entanglement runs far deeper.

“Currently, Jehad is in Somalia, and he is very close to the decision-making circles of Al-Shabab, especially their intelligence wing called ‘AMNIYAT’ and also an explosive brigade which is controlled by the powerful Al-Shabab leader, Mahad Warsame Qaley,” an African intelligence official, who spoke strictly on the situation of anonymity, instructed Fox Information. “Jehad is protected by Al-Shabab hardliners who are mainly connected to Al Qaeda. He directly gives advice to Al-Shabab’s leadership on issues related to strategies, international relations, smuggling explosive material and importation, media production, and its audience targeting.”

U.S Attorney Robert Brewer speaks in front of an FBI poster depicting Jehad Serwan Mostafa during a news conference Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in San Diego. The U.S. attorney's office in San Diego says the 37-year-old U.S. citizen who is on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist List is facing a new indictment. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

U.S Legal professional Robert Brewer speaks in entrance of an FBI poster depicting Jehad Serwan Mostafa throughout a information convention Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in San Diego. The U.S. lawyer’s workplace in San Diego says the 37-year-old U.S. citizen who’s on the FBI’s Most Wished Terrorist Listing is dealing with a brand new indictment. (AP Photograph/Gregory Bull)

Mostafa is believed to have three wives and 16 youngsters, and his household is beneath the safety of Al-Shabab’s Basic Safety, which is “in control of abroad Counter-Intelligence and the presence of international fighters” within the group.

“The Middle Jubba region, which is under full control of Al-Shabab, is where intelligence agencies believe is his hideout,” the supply continued. “He is one of the most trusted foreign fighters within Al-Shabab, and gets more protection (than others) from the group.”

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One other safety supply working within the nation instructed Fox Information that one in all Mostafa’s wives married him quickly after her husband, his comrade, was killed in battle. He’s mentioned to have come near being captured round two years in the past in a floor operation, however he finally acquired away unscathed. A spokesperson for the FBI dealing with the case declined to remark.

Nonetheless, his alleged trek into terrorism is a far cry from the baby-faced Southern California boy many considered as candy and subdued.

Born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and raised within the Serra Mesa space of San Diego, Calif., Mostafa attended Mesa Group Faculty earlier than graduating from the College of California, San Diego in 2005 with an economics diploma. Simply months later, he’s alleged to have absconded into the murky world of jihad on the age of 23.

Mostafa’s first cease was Yemen in 2005. Within the conflict-plagued Middle Eastern nation, he’s believed to have struck up a relationship with a number of Muslims from Western international locations. In some unspecified time in the future in 2006, Mostafa ventured by way of a number of African international locations, earlier than accepting an Al-Shabab invite to Somalia.

He allegedly turned affiliated with the group at a time when the terrorist group was establishing a territorial foothold within the embattled nation. Quickly after Mostafa disappeared into the group’s void, the management began issuing warnings to different international fighters to not come, on condition that sweeping arrests had began of these aspiring to overthrow the Somalian authorities.

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A Somali woman carries wood to make a shelter in an internally displaced people camp on Dec. 18, 2018.

A Somali girl carries wooden to make a shelter in an internally displaced folks camp on Dec. 18, 2018.
(MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Photographs)

But Mostafa’s path to radicalization seemingly caught many unexpectedly, together with those that prayed alongside. He attended the native Islamic Middle of San Diego in Kearny Mesa, and in 2016 the middle’s director, Imam Taha Hassane, instructed Fox Information that they’d no suspicion Mostafa had turn into in any method extremist in his views.

“Jehad was often hanging around with the other young people. He used to play a lot of basketball outside,” Hassane recalled. “I was absolutely shocked to see his picture on the news connected to terrorism.”

His father, a Kurdish-Syrian residing in San Diego – Halim Mostafa Gabori – died in 2018, apparently from a coronary heart situation, a buddy instructed Fox Information. Halim served as one of many co-founders of The Affiliation for Youth and Group Development (AYCA) and was eulogized by the group as a “people’s person” who had a “passion for life” and a “contributing force” to the San Diego group as an entire.

In 1998, Halim based Aveen, Inc. and, beneath that cover, managed the movie manufacturing firm Scimitar Productions. He and his firm produced the movie “Mozlym” in 2008, which sought to point out that “the true meaning of Islam is often lost amid misconceptions of non-Muslims in America” and centered on a younger African-American who fights his method out of a ghetto and into faculty, “deciding to make his thesis film on Muslims and violence.”

The movie went on to win some worldwide awards. Halim additionally had an uncredited function as an “Iraqi Civilian Man” within the 1999 George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Dice-starring battle movie “Three Kings.”

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Furthermore, Halim additionally ran Scimitar Safety, an organization that provides an array of providers together with armed and unarmed safety as effectively cell patrol for residential properties and placement, the place Jehad can also be mentioned to have labored at earlier than becoming a member of the terrorist outfit overseas. A search {of professional} licenses exhibits Mostafa registered with the California Bureau of Safety and Investigative Providers as a guard within the yr 2000, with validity by way of to August 2006.

Previous to fleeing, Mostafa was licensed as a safety guard from the yr 2000, with validity by way of to August 2006. He moreover labored behind the counter on the Winston Auto Middle on El Cajon Boulevard in San Diego

His mom, Sumaiyah, is a faculty instructor who has labored in numerous states and international locations, in line with AYCA.

Members of the family, together with one older brother, a 40-year-old software program engineer in Southern California, didn’t reply to requests for remark. A household buddy, who requested anonymity, instructed Fox Information that Halim was deeply upset and upset over Jehad’s departure to Africa and that over time his title fell nearly solely from the dialog.

Which means “The Youth” in Arabic, Al Shabab stays one of the crucial potent and lethal organizations on the planet, racking up a jarring variety of fatalities lately. It began as an rebel faction constructed on a hardline Islamic interpretation within the late ’90s, and in 2012 aligned itself with Al Qaeda.

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Somalia’s authorities blamed the group on the deaths of greater than 500 people in a massive truck bombing in the capital of Mogadishu in October 2017. In 2015, the phobia group masterminded a bloodbath at neighboring Kenya’s Garissa College, killing 148 folks, and in 2013, its operatives assaulted Nairobi’s Westgate shopping center by which 67 folks died. Kenya’s international minister declared that a few of the militants orchestrating the mall carnage have been People, however it’s unclear if Mostafa was one in all them.

At its peak between 2009 and 2011, Al-Shabab managed the vast majority of central and southern Somalia. Though it was ousted from the capital in 2011, the group has “transitioned to a more covert form of guerilla warfare,” noticed London-based terrorism and safety guide Will Hartley.

“Concern that Al-Shabab was reestablishing itself prompted a renewed U.S. focus on the group in the latter years of the Obama administration, and that has continued under Trump,” he mentioned.

Throughout his first months in workplace, President Trump greenlit a Pentagon plan to ramp up operations and drone strikes towards the insurgency faction, estimated to have round 9,000 members. But, the bloodletting on the U.S. lives nonetheless stings.

On Sunday, a U.S. soldier and two Department of Defense contractors were killed in an Al-Shabab assault at a compound used to coach African service members in Kenya.

In accordance with Fox Information tabulations based mostly on out there knowledge, Al-Shabab is accountable for the deaths of greater than 1,892 folks throughout Africa since 2008, the yr it was first designated a international terrorist group (FTO), and it has severely wounded numerous extra.

“Al-Shabab is as brutal as they come. The group divides the areas under its control to geographical units it dubs ‘Islamic States’ and administers them according to its understanding of Islamic law,” famous researchers for the Center East Media Analysis Institute’s (MEMRI) Jihad and Risk Monitor. “It regularly calls for attacks on American and Western targets worldwide, but so far has not directly carried out any such attacks.”

Dec. 18, 2008: Somali al-Shabab fighters stand stand guard during a public flogging by the hardline Islamic group in Bula Marer town.

Dec. 18, 2008: Somali al-Shabab fighters stand stand guard throughout a public flogging by the hardline Islamic group in Bula Marer city.
(Reuters)

Along with its dizzying array of assaults, Al-Shabab is accused of finishing up stonings, amputations and beheadings as “regular punishment for criminal and apostates,” in line with the Counter Extremism Challenge (CEP). The U.N. has additionally charged that the group makes use of youngsters in fight and reconnaissance roles.

The Division of State’s Rewards for Justice Program is providing a $5 million reward resulting in the arrest and conviction of Jehad Serwan Mostafa. Regardless of the profitable monetary providing, which has been on the desk since 2013, Mostafa has remained at-large. He’s identified to talk English, Arabic and Somali.

The final unclassified proof-of-life was in October 2011, when he appeared at a press convention with an Al-Shabab prime brass, “purporting to be an al-Qaeda emissary,” the FBI documented. All through the occasion captured on digital camera, he praised Osama bin Laden.

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Mostafa is described as being 6’1 and 170 kilos; blue-eyed, with a light-weight complexion, left-handed and with a particular scar on his proper hand. Mostafa faces one depend every of conspiracy to offer materials help to terrorists, conspiracy to offer materials help to a international terrorist group and offering materials help to a global terrorist group.

“His track record amounts for a rap sheet of some big misdemeanors including serving as Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s point man,” added Raphael Gluck, founding father of the terrorist monitoring website Jihadoscope. “Essentially, he remains hidden. Unless one is a spiritual leader or figurehead, he won’t be releasing videos, and there won’t be videos focused on him. But someone like Jehad is worth a lot more than a propaganda video.”