The 21st Century Phenomenon



On 02/20/2003 the FBI in USA arrested in Tampa Florida a group of 4 Palestinian, related to the PALESTINIAN Islamic Jihad (PIJ), on charges that they run a racketeering enterprise from 1984 until the present and engaged in a number of violent activities. In addition, the indictment charges on conspiracy within the United States to kill and maim persons abroad, conspiracy to provide material support and resources to the PIJ, conspiracy to violate emergency economic sanctions, engaging in various acts of interstate extortion, perjury, obstruction of justice, immigration fraud and raising money for terror activities under the cover of an alleged foundation.

The cell was led by Sami al-Arian, a professor in the Computer Sciences Department at the University of South Florida, in Tampa. The other members arrested in USA were: Sameeh Hammoudeh, 42, born in the West Bank, a resident of Temple Terrace, Florida; Hatim Naji Fariz, 30, born in Puerto Rico, a resident of Spring Hill, Florida and Ghassan Zayed Ballut, 41, born in the West Bank, a resident of Tinley Park, Illinois.

Four other defendants charged in the indictment remain overseas and became fugitives from the American authorities. They are:

Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, the head of the PIJ, resident of Damascus, Syria;

Bashir Nafi, 50, born in Egypt, a resident of Oxfordshire, UK;

Mohammed T. al-Khatib, 46, a resident in Beirut, Lebanon

Abd Al Aziz Awda, 52, lives in Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Authority.

The US Jihad Cell operated legally in USA from 1988. In 10/1997, after numerous suicide attacks in Israel, meant to disrupt the Oslo peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, the PALESTINIAN Islamic Jihad – PIJ, was designated as a “foreign terrorist organization” by the USA State Department and the activity of the US Jihad Cell became, outlawed. The US authority estimated that from 1996 the US Jihad Cell transferred to the Middle East to various activities related to the PIJ 54$ millions.   

US Jihad Cell established and used a number of U.S.-based entities such as the “World Islam and Studies Enterprise” (WISE), the “Shura Council”, the “Al-Ahssan” foundation and other similar orgsanizations to communicate and support PIJ worldwide, to help solve internal PIJ disputes and financial problems, to help publish PIJ claims of responsibility for specific terrorist attacks in Israel, and to raise funds within the United States for violent Jihad.

Epilogue ; 

On 12/06/2005 the four defendants that were on trial in the USA were acquitted from the charges related to material support and financing of Islamic terror.


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