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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Jordan rearrests millennium bombings plotter -- By Thomas Joscelyn, The Long War Journal

Raed-Hijazi.jpg Photo: Raed Hijazi. Photograph from Reuters.

A longtime jihadist who was born in the US and slated to take part in al Qaeda's planned millennium attacks in Jordan has been rearrested by authorities.

Al Jazeera reported on its Arabic website earlier this month that Raed Hijazi, who spent more than a decade in prison, was detained once again by Jordanian authorities in November. The charges against Hijazi, who was identified as a leading member of the Salafi jihadist trend in Jordan, are not immediately clear. Hijazi's son confirmed the arrest, which has been reported by other outlets as well.

According to the 9/11 Commission, Hijazi had sworn bayat (an oath of allegiance) to Osama bin Laden in 1999, at a time when he was plotting to carry out mass casualty attacks against several sites.

One of Al Jazeera's sources inside the Salafi jihadist trend, Sa'd al Hunayti, also said that Khadr Abu Hoshar had been warned by Jordanian security forces. Abu Hoshar has been one of Hijazi's alleged accomplices since the 1990s. Jordanian officials reportedly told Abu Hoshar that any protests on behalf of his imprisoned comrades would lead to additional arrests.

The Jordanian government has also warned other members of the Salafi jihadist trend against supporting the mujahideen in Syria. Al Hunayti said that approximately 100 members of the Salafi jihadist trend had been jailed on charges of "heading to Syria for jihad."

The 9/11 Commission Report on planned millennium attacks

The 9/11 Commission discussed the planned millennium attacks in Jordan at length in its final report. Jordanian authorities unraveled the plots beginning on Nov. 30, 1999, when they intercepted a telephone call from senior terrorist Abu Zubaydah to Abu Hoshar.

"The time for training is over," Abu Zubaydah said.

The Jordanians suspected, according to the 9/11 Commission, "that this was a signal for Abu Hoshar to commence a terrorist operation." Jordanian police then arrested 16 jihadists, including Abu Hoshar and Hijazi.

Hijazi was born in California, but lived in the Middle East for much of his childhood. After returning to California, according to the 9/11 Commission, Hijazi became an extremist and "then made his way to Abu Zubaydah's Khaldan camp in Afghanistan, where he learned the fundamentals of guerrilla warfare."

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