My April 18 posting about the arrests in Birmingham included a bit about a 40-year-old father of four and taxi driver at 22 Whitmore Road. He has been identified as Fazal Sajjad Younis Khan, and it turns out that the electoral rolls I was hesitant to cite were correct. The suspicious substance found in the home has been declared variously as tear gas or more specifically as CS gas. He has been bailed to appear before Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on May 13. The electoral rolls also show a handful of other names at the Whitmore Road address: Lal Bahadur Khan, Gulzad Gay Khan, Noorshad Begum, and Hazara Begum. Thus far, I’ve only been able to discover that Gulzad is the mother of Fazal, based on the England & Wales, Birth Index, 1916-2005.
British police counter-terrorism units have launched a number of pre-planned, intelligence-led operations in recent days in Birmingham and at Gatwick airport against individuals for Syria-related terrorism offenses or in connection with the events in Paris and Brussels. Every time the public is told that there was no risk to them and that there was no information to suggest that an attack was being planned against the UK. Continue reading
Following up my previous post, I’ve spent some time in the past week digging around into the criminal Underworld of Brussels in cases where it has exploded onto the pages of the Belgian press. Admittedly, I am at the mercy of what makes its way into freely available sites, so I’m sure there is a whole world of material I’m not seeing. Yet, I think the little bit I’ve done is already paying dividends in terms of my understanding of what is happening.
The point of interest is the surname Benhattal. In my last post, I mentioned that Ibrahim El Bakraoui’s stint in prison came as a result of an attempted theft and shootout with the police. His driver was a Jawad Benhattal, who received 6 years for his role in the crime. Unfortunately, I was not able to find anything further on him, specifically. Continue reading
Hind Fraihi, a journalist who went undercover and wrote En immersion à Molenbeek ten years ago, described the district even then as a hotbed of Islamic extremism. Yet the emergence of the Islamic State and the extension of its influence in Belgium has created something different. Whereas earlier preachers and recruiters had sought to legitimize their violent ideology with carefully constructed justifications, the recruiters who aligned themselves with the Islamic State have eschewed all of this in favor of grafting a few basic religious ideas onto the existing career paths of its potential soldiers—a fusion some are calling “gangster Islam.” This serves the needs of an organization that seeks to attack the very heart of Western Civilization by supplying it with a ready-made network of facilitators already schooled by the Underworld. Continue reading
Naim al-Hamed first came to the attention of the general public on Friday, March 25 as the 28-year-old Syrian from Hama named as a suspect in Brussels bombings. According to a report in Le Monde on Saturday, his DNA was found in the rue Max Roos apartment used by the known perpetrators of the attacks. He arrived in Europe on September 20, 2015, with Mounir Ahmed Alaaj, aka Amine Choukri, aka Sofiane Ayari, the man who had fled the rue du Dries apartment with Abdeslam and was later caught with him at Abdeslam’s aunt’s apartment. Al-Hamed and Ayari had confirmed contact with Abdeslam in Ulm, Germany, on the night 2-3 October 2015. Continue reading
Friday was a busy day for Belgian law enforcement with multiple operations resulting in the arrest of the last remaining publically-revealed fugitive from the Paris attacks, Mohamed Abrini. In addition, a recently revealed suspect, Osama Krayem (sometimes seen as Oussama Kraiem), known until now as Naim al-Hamed, was also captured. In all, six individuals were arrested, the others being Hervé B.M., Bilal El Makhoukhi, and two possibly unrelated individuals named Assia B. and Chaouki A. The last two may have been swept up inadvertently for being close to the operations and acting in a manner suspicious to police. Politico early on named another individual as Abu Amrid, but nothing further was ever reported on that, and I would take it with a grain of salt as this topic is not their bread-and-butter. Continue reading
In my recent posting A Flurry of Activity Around Europe I wrote a short paragraph about some arrests in Germany in the aftermath of the Brussels attacks. Since then, I’ve been able to dig a little more into the targets of these arrests, although information is still hard to come by.
In the city of Gießen, north of Frankfurt in the state of Hessen, a 28-year-old Moroccan was arrested at the train station at 1:45am on the Thursday morning after the attack. Another train was not due to leave the station for another 2.5 hours. Continue reading