Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mission Accomplished : The Elusive Hero of Jihad

"All my life, I have seen the blood of Muslims flow. I pray that Allah will break the backs of those who oppose him, his soldiers and his admirers, and that he will exterminate them."
"I was even stopped by an officer who contemplated me so as to compare me to the picture, but he let me go, as he did not see the resemblance!"
"Before, we towed jet skis, motorcycles, quad bikes, big trailers filled with gifts for vacation in Morocco. Now, thank God, following God's path, we're towing [the bloodied corpses of] apostates, infidels who are fighting us."
"I ask Allah to accept the fruitful deeds of the shuhada [martyrs] who terrorized the crusaders of America, France, Canada, Australia, Germany and Belgium."
"Allah blinded their vision and I was able to leave and come to Sham [the Levant] despite being chased after by so many intelligence agencies. A Muslim should not fear the bloated image of the crusader intelligence. My name and picture were all over the news, yet I was able to stay in their homeland, plan operations against them and leave safely when doing so became necessary."
Abdelhamid Abaaoud, jihadi zealot
Lost: 129 French citizens' lives. Found: the organizer of Friday 13th November's attacks and mastermind of the militarily precise actions of three sets of suicidist-bombers and -mass killers. Not quite found, unfortunately, since he is at large, but known to authorities who are searching for his whereabouts. To take him into custody. To question him. The elusive, triumphant jihadist proud of his affiliation with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Involved with a network of other jihadis who have mounted attacks, some successful, some not, but no reason not to keep up the pressure.

Each attack, whether they are deemed to have hit their mark in achieving high death numbers, represent success since they sow terror. And they also force the countries against which the attacks occur to increase the level of their surveillance and increase the complex safety features that must henceforth be circumscribed into defensive plans to avert future attacks, or to minimize their impact. In that sense, even though a planned attack might be averted through a preemptive arrest, they have succeeded in their cumulative effect.

"Why in the name of God would he want to kill innocent Belgians? We owe everything to this country. I will never forgive him for conscripting my other son, Younes [13 years of age]."
Omar Abaaoud, father of Abdelhamid, repudiating his son as having brought dishonour to their family. There are other family disgraces, however, Ibrahim Abdeslam, one of the Paris bombers is a relation. And his brother Salah who is being sought by French authorities, as well.

Earlier terrorist attacks, one on a Paris-bound high-speed train on which three American military members were passengers, was thwarted by their swift reaction. The multi-ethnic Molenbeek-St-Jean neighbourhood in Belgium is where this child of Moroccan immigrants grew up. Belgian officials are convinced that this man helped to organize and to finance a terrorist cell in Verviers, which they broke up in a police raid on January 15, where two accomplices were killed.

A month later Abaaoud, in an interview with Dabiq, ISIL's English-language magazine, he gloated that despite a manhunt for him, he had returned to Belgium to take the terror cell under his guidance. Escaping back to Syria after the raid, irrespective of his picture having been broadcast widely across the news media. Belgian federal prosecutors are mute on Abaaoud's role in the Paris attacks, but they did arrest three suspects in his old neighbourhood and the search for him is ongoing.

It is an area of Belgium in the west of Brussels that has long been thought of as a Islamic radicalism and recruitment centre, enabling the passage of foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria. Two independent journalists had obtained photographs and videos in 2014 of the man's activities in Syria when they visited the Turkish-Syrian frontier. Footage surfaced of Abaaoud and companions-in-jihad piling a pickup truck and a rough trailer high with bloodied corpses.

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