Date: November 28, 2003
Suspect: Nuradin M. Abdi
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Mall: Columbis Shopping Mall
Charges: Conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and al-Qaeda, and 2 counts of fraud and misuse of documents
Notes: There were 3, 4, or possibly more people involved in the alleged plot, but they are likley government agents and therefore will never be prosecuted.
Title: Feds: Holiday Arrest Timed To Save Shoppers
Date: June 15, 2004
Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Abstract: When the Christmas shopping season arrived last year, federal authorities in Cincinnati and Columbus decided they could wait no longer.
They arrested Nuradin M. Abdi on suspicion that the Somali immigrant was plotting with al-Qaida operatives to blow up a shopping mall.
They had been investigating at least six months and wanted to learn more about him and potential targets. But on the day after Thanksgiving - one of the busiest shopping days of the year - they moved.
"We thought that if something was going to be done, that might be the time," said Richard Wilkens, agent in charge of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Cincinnati. "He was a threat to national security."
The nature of the threat was revealed for the first time Monday when authorities announced Abdi's indictment on terrorism-related charges.
Although family members in Columbus described Abdi as an immigrant who loved freedom and hated terrorists, law enforcement officials portrayed him as a man determined to harm his adopted country.
They said he made contact with a known al-Qaida operative, traveled to Ethiopia for military-style training in preparation for "violent Jihad" and plotted to detonate a bomb in a Columbus-area mall.
"This was an ugly threat," said Kevin Brock, special agent in charge of the FBI in Cincinnati. "It was a hateful threat."
Attorney General John Ashcroft said at a Washington news conference that the Abdi case is further proof that al-Qaida wants "to hit the United States hard."
Federal court records linked Abdi - who ran a cell phone business in Columbus - to former Columbus truck driver Iyman Faris, serving a 20-year prison sentence after pleading guilty a year ago to providing material support to al-Qaida.
The records state that Faris met Abdi at the Columbus airport in March 2000 upon Abdi's return from terrorist training in Ethiopia, which included lessons in guerrilla warfare, bombs and "anything to damage the enemy."
"The defendant's purpose in obtaining this training was to ready himself to participate in violent Jihad conflicts," federal prosecutors state in the court records.
The prosecutors claim that Abdi, 32, later obtained bomb-making instructions and plotted with Faris and other, unnamed conspirators to attack a mall.
Brock described Abdi as a serious threat, but he said investigators did not think that an attack was imminent when he was arrested Nov. 28, 2003, on immigration violations.
"There are no malls in imminent danger, then or now," Brock said. "We became aware of the threat in time to avert it."
He said investigators were confident last year that there was no immediate danger because Faris, one of the key figures in the alleged plot, already was jailed. He said that's why no specific warnings were issued last fall and why Columbus malls were not notified of a potential threat.
"This plot was foiled while it was still in the planning stages," said Bill Hunt, the first assistant to U.S. Attorney Gregory Lockhart.
Even so, authorities decided not to take any chances in November when the busy holiday shopping season was about to begin.
"The timing was of special interest," said Greg Palmore, spokesman for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "The Christmas season means a lot of shoppers."
Law enforcement officials said they developed information about Abdi's possible connection to terrorism after Faris' arrest, although they would not say whether Faris provided that information.
Faris, originally from Kashmir, admitted last year to plotting to cut support cables on the Brooklyn Bridge and to derail trains in New York and Washington. Neither of those plots was carried out.
Authorities would not say how Faris knew Abdi, but Brock confirmed Monday that the two men had a relationship and that "these charges are connected to Faris."
He said the Southern Ohio Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes representatives from the FBI and several other federal agencies, continues to investigate several individuals.
Abdi's arrest in November was based on charges that he falsified information that he used to obtain asylum in the United States in 1999.
The recent charges include conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, fraud and misuse of documents, and conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Abdi's Cincinnati-based immigration lawyer, Doug Weigle, said he did not know details about the terrorist charges against his client. But Abdi's family and a Somali advocacy group based in Minnesota, the Somali Justice Advocacy Center, complained Monday about the "secrecy and lack of due process."
Federal officials would not say where Abdi has been jailed since his arrest, only that he has been at several locations.
Date: December 9, 2006
Suspect: Derrick Shareef
Location: Rockford, Illinois
Mall: CherryVale Shopping Mall
Charges: 1 count of attempting to damage or destroy a building by fire or explosion and one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.
Notes: Despite "acting alone", Shareef was baited by a federal agent to commit the acts of terror.
Title: Feds Arrest Man They Say Planned To Detonate Grenades In Illinois Shopping Mall
Date: December 9, 2006
Source: Fox News
Abstract: A man has been arrested by federal agents on charges of planning to set off hand grenades at an Illinois shopping mall on Dec. 22 as part of his plan to commit "violent jihad" against civilians.
Derrick Shareef, 22, of Rockford, was arrested when he carried out a rendezvous with an undercover agent in a parking lot to trade a set of stereo speakers for four grenades and a handgun.
Federal officials said he planned to place the grenades in garbage cans at the CherryVale shopping mall in Rockford, about 90 miles northwest of Chicago.
Shareef was charged with one count of attempting to damage or destroy a building by fire or explosion and one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. Officials say he was acting alone and there was never any real threat.
"The Joint Terrorism Task Force was all over this … and the only person involved in this plot was Mr. Shareef and two people working for the government," U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said during a press conference from Chicago Friday afternoon.
"We believe we've neutralized this threat," added Robert Grant, special agent in charge of the Chicago office of the FBI.
He planned the attack for the Friday before Christmas.
Date: February 13, 2007
Suspect: Sulejman Talovic
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Mall: Trolley Square Mall
Charges: None. Alleged shooter allegedly committed suicide.
Notes: Rumors of a 2nd shooter, Officer Ken Hammond, spread initially but within less than an hour, police determined there was just 1 gunman despite news reports stating that an armed undercover police officer was running through the mall before police arrived and at the same time that Talvic was also shooting.
Date: February 13, 2007
Source: KSL News
Abstract: The winding hallways of Salt Lake City's Trolley Square became a shooting gallery for an 18-year-old gunman in a trench coat who fired a shotgun randomly at customers, killing five and wounding four before being killed by police, authorities and witnesses said. The shooter also was armed with a handgun and had several rounds of ammunition, Salt Lake City police Detective Robin Snyder said early Tuesday. It was not clear if he fired the handgun, nor had a motive been determined, she said.
The man's name was not released. He was a Salt Lake City resident.
"I was working and all of a sudden I heard a shot, and I saw security run by. I didn't really know what was going on. People just started running," a witness named Maya said.
Marie Smith, 23, a Bath & Body Works manager, saw the gunman through the store window. She watched as he raised his gun and fired at a young woman approaching him from behind.
"His expression stayed totally calm. He didn't seem upset, or like he was on a rampage," said Smith, who crawled to safety in an employee restroom to hide with others. She said the gunman looked like "an average Joe."
Killed were two 28-year-old women, a 52-year-old man, a 24-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl, Snyder said.
The surviving victims were transported to several area hospitals.
Surviving Victim Information
53-year-old male, critical condition
44-year-old female, critical condition
34-year-old male, serious condition
16-year-old boy, serious condition
Pregnant woman treated for psychological trauma
As of this morning, we know a 53-year-old man and a 44-year-old woman are in critical condition. Two other men are in serious condition. A woman who is 32 weeks pregnant was taken to Salt Lake Regional Hospital for severe psychological trauma.The chaos at the mall erupted at 6:45 p.m. Witnesses told us they saw the gunman, heard the shots and screaming and saw the wounded.
Salt Lake police are encouraging anyone who was inside the mall at the time of the shooting, who may need counseling, to call Valley Mental Health at 261-1442.
"We have six fatalities (including the gunman) and multiple victims at hospitals," Snyder said. "They were found throughout the mall."
Barbara Lund was working in a store. "We heard the gunshots. They were pretty loud. Then one of my friends came out and told me there were gunshots there."
Matt Lund, Barbara's husband, said he saw a woman's body face-down at the entrance to Pottery Barn Kids. He locked himself and four others inside a storage room for about 40 minutes, isolated but still able to hear the violence.
The terror seemed to begin in the parking lot near the Williams Sonoma store. Two brothers leaving the mall saw a wounded youth taking shelter in a car.
"The young boy, he ran and jumped in a car. He'd been shot on this side, and his ear looked like meatloaf."
As the gunman entered the mall, he started blasting away with a shotgun. Fear and confusion spread. Police arrived within a few minutes. Hundreds of shoppers and workers took cover, hiding wherever they could. Some heard the final confrontation.
"We heard them say, 'Police! Drop your weapon!' Then we heard shotgun fire. Then there was a barrage of gunfire," Matt Lund, 44, said. "It was hard to believe."
Witnesses reported dozens of shots, perhaps 50 or more. And then silence. As some were cleared to leave by police, they saw the gunman's shotgun shells scattered around in front of shops.
"As we were running towards the north side of the building, we looked to our left, and there was glass shattered all over the floor next to the escalators. And maybe, it was so quick, but maybe 10 bodies lying on the ground," said witness Clifton Black.Melinda Gurr added, "We were rushed out pretty quickly. We saw a bunch of bodies heaped on the floor, and there was glass everywhere. A pretty gory sight."
"It was really just scary. I wanted to get out of there," Black said.
Salt Lake City police Detective Robin Snyder said many employees and shoppers -- "a lot of scared people" -- still were inside at 9 p.m. MST, hunkered down and waiting for a police escort. "This is a huge area to cover," she said.
It's not known how many people were in the mall when the shots were fired, but Snyder said investigators had between 100 and 200 witnesses to interview.
By dawn Tuesday, two memorial sites with lighted candles and flowers were set up outside Trolley Square.
Some say officers treated everyone like suspects -- ordering those hiding in storerooms, bathrooms or under stairwells, to lie on the floor with their hands on their heads until police were sure no one posed a threat.
An antique-store owner, Barrett Dodds, 29, said he saw a man in a trench coat exchanging gunfire with a police officer outside a card store. The gunman was backed into a children's clothing store.
"I saw the cops go in the store. I saw the shooter go down," said Dodds, who watched from the second floor.
Four police officers -- one an off-duty officer from Ogden and three Salt Lake City officers -- were involved in the shootout with the gunman, Snyder said. She provided no other details.
She said she didn't believe there had been a shooting in Salt Lake City where so many people were killed."I don't know that we've ever had one that even compares to this," she said. "We had some incidents in the past here in Salt Lake City, but nothing of this nature."
Barb McKeown, 60, of Washington, D.C., was in another antique shop when two frantic women ran in and reported gunshots.
"Then we heard shot after shot after shot -- loud, loud, loud," said McKeown, who believes she heard approximately 20 shots.
She and three other people hid under a store staircase until it was safe to leave.
When one of our KSL crews arrived at Trolley Square, groups of people were huddled on the corners. They'd been evacuated and were waiting in the cold to be reunited with family, or to get their cars out of the parking lot, or their personal belongings.
We talked to a lot of those people. All were in different stores at the time of the shooting, but all heard the same thing.
"I heard the gunshot, and I saw the security guards run."
"Just heard this bang. Bang, bang, bang. It was just like random shots going off."
"We heard what sounded like big balloons, boxes being stamped on. You never expect gunshots. Then heard the glass doors being shot out and the gunman coming through there. We all screamed and ran and hid in the store."
"So we said to the owner of the store, 'Lock the doors. Lock the doors.' She did, and she turned the lights out so it looked like the store was closed."
Police eventually gathered all the witness inside Hard Rock Cafe to question them about what they saw.
As people ran from the mall for their lives, people also flocked to Trolley Square to see for themselves what was happening.
As KSL's Sam Penrod walked up to the scene, less than an hour after the shooting started, people were in tears and in shock, just wondering if this was really happening. They were also waiting for some kind of an indication that it was safe again. The victims who were inside the mall at the time of the shooting and ran for their lives just stood around, almost in disbelief. Many of them witnessed the shooting, they heard the shots, they saw people running and screaming to get out.
They told us they waited for the police to get here. The sight of the police cars was a huge relief, knowing that something could be done to end this nightmare.
With all the commotion, neighbors started coming out of their houses to see what was happening. Soon, fire trucks and ambulance after ambulance came to the scene. So did police officers. More than an hour after the shooting, reinforcements continued to arrive.
For those who were there Monday night, it's been terrifying and traumatizing. People are going to need time to heal emotionally, to recover from such a terrible night (KSL News, 2007).
Date: November 8, 2007
Suspect: Al Qaeda
Location: LA, Chicago
Charges: None. Government Fearmongering
Notes: Although the FBI states, "We have no credible, specific information suggesting an imminent attack" they issue a national press release suggesting an imminent attack.
Title: Exclusive: FBI: Al Qaeda May Strike U.S. Shopping Malls In LA, Chicago
Date: November 8, 2007
Source: ABC News
Abstract: The FBI is warning that al Qaeda may be preparing a series of holiday attacks on U.S. shopping malls in Los Angeles and Chicago, according to an intelligence report distributed to law enforcement authorities across the country this morning. (Click here for full text.) The alert said al Qaeda "hoped to disrupt the U.S. economy and has been planning the attack for the past two years."
Law enforcement officials tell ABCNews.com that the FBI received the information in late September and declassified it yesterday for wide distribution. The alert, like similar FBI and Department of Homeland Security terror alerts issued over the past five years at holiday times, raised questions about the credibility of the information. THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS BlotterMI5: Teen Al Qaeda Recruits, Russian Spies Target Britain Blotter Sneaky Sandals Could Be Next Terror Tool Photos Explosive Footwear Blotter New U.S.
The bulletin acknowledges that U.S. intelligence officers are uncertain as to whether the information is real, and intelligence officers say there is a concern that it could be "disinformation." Law enforcement officials at three different agencies told ABCNews.com the FBI alert was based on a source who has proved reliable in the past. The source reportedly had only "indirect access" to al Qaeda and word of the actual threat came to U.S. intelligence officers "through a lengthy chain" of contacts.
With the shopping season approaching, however, the FBI officials decided it was necessary to share the information. For the past few years, jihadist chat rooms have regularly posted comments from anonymous individuals who have suggested or boasted about similar plans to attack such soft targets as shopping malls. "Out of abundance of caution, and for any number of other reasons, raw intelligence is regularly shared within the intelligence and law enforcement communities — even when the value of the information is unknown," said Special Agent Richard Kolko.
Date: December 5, 2007
Suspect: Robert A. Hawkins
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
Mall: Westroads Mall
Crime: Killed 9, wounded 4, 2 of them critically
Notes: Officials said Hawkins, clad in military-style clothing, entered the mall and began firing off rounds. A witness, Todd Trimpe, told FOX News that he saw police apprehend a man, dressed in camouflage, who was hiding under a bus-stop bench outside the mall." When Hawkins enters the mall, he was not wearing camouflage (see video below). A DHS employee was at the mall just shortly before the shooting prior to talk to mall security. It is assumed Hawkins did not act alone.
Date: December 6, 2007
Source: Fox News
Abstract: A man with a rifle opened fire at a busy Omaha shopping mall Wednesday, killing eight people before taking his own life, police said. Five others were wounded, two critically.
The killer has been identified as Robert A. Hawkins, age 19 or 20, who left a suicide note stating, "I'm going out in style" and "I'm going to be famous." The man's vehicle was reportedly found in the parking lot.
Hawkins' mother brought the note to the local sheriff's office. She was being questioned by investigators Wednesday night.
Sgt. Teresa Negron said the gunman killed eight people, then apparently killed himself. Authorities gave no motive for the attack and did not know whether he said anything during the rampage.
Friends described Hawkins as "depressed" and said he had quit school several years ago and worked at a series of fast food jobs. He was arrested last month on misdemeanor charges and was expected to appear in court this month.
Officials said Hawkins, clad in military-style clothing, entered the mall just before 2 p.m. Wednesday and began firing off rounds. The rampage sent shoppers and employees running and screaming through the Westroads Mall, barricading themselves in dressing rooms after hearing gunfire. Hawkins was found dead on the third floor of the Von Maur store with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and his victims were discovered on the second and third floors, police said.
Witnesses said Hawkins fired down on shoppers from a third-floor balcony of the Von Maur store.
"Everybody was scared, and we didn't know what was going on," said Belene Esaw-Kagbara, 31, a Von Maur employee. "We didn't know what to do. I was praying that God protect us."
Mickey Vickory, who worked at Von Maur's third-floor service department, said she heard shots at about 1:50 p.m.
She and her co-workers and customers went into a back closet behind the wrapping room to hide, then emerged about a half-hour later when police shouted to come out with their hands up. As police took them to another part of the mall for safety, they saw the victims.
"We saw the bodies and we saw the blood," she said.
Police received a 911 call from someone inside the mall, and shots could be heard in the background, Negron said. By the time officers arrived six minutes later, the shooting was over, she said.
Shortly after the shooting, which came three weeks before Christmas, a group of shoppers came out of the building with their hands raised. Some were still holding shopping bags.
It was not clear Wednesday night when Hawkins took his own life.
Another man was taken into custody outside of the mall, but his role in the shooting was not clear.
Two gunshot victims who were treated at Creighton Medical Center died from their wounds, FOX News confirmed, and a third victim being treated there remained in critical condition.
No additional information was available on the other fatalities.
Andrea McMaster, a spokeswoman for the University of Nebraska Medical Center, told FOX News that three shooting victims were being treated there: a 61-year-old man shot in the chest, a 34-year-old man shot in the arm, and a 55-year-old man with a cut to his face. The 61-year-old man was in critical condition and undergoing surgery.
Police had put the Westroads Mall, Omaha's largest shopping mall, on lockdown while it searched for the gunman.
One of the victims was reportedly an elderly man found near an escalator inside Von Maur department store, one of the mall's anchor tenents.
Witnesses described hearing "dozens and dozens" of shots being fired, with one witness saying she heard more than 30 shots.
Shawn Vidlak said he heard four or five rapid shots "like a nail gun." At first he thought it was noise from construction work going on at the mall.
"People started screaming about gunshots," Vidlak said. "I grabbed my wife and kids we got out of there as fast as we could."
A woman who answered the phone at an Old Navy store said 20 to 30 customers were huddled with employees in a back storeroom.
"All we know was people were running and screaming down the hallway by Von Maur saying there was a shooting, and then they locked us down," said the woman, who said her name was Heidi.
Keith Fidler, an employee at Von Maur, said he heard the burst of gunfire, followed by dozens of shots. Fidler said he huddled in the corner of the men's clothing department with about a dozen other employees until police yelled to get out of the store.
Fidler said he did not see the shooting, but saw a person lying by the elevator as he was leaving the store.
Todd Trimpe told FOX News that he saw police apprehend a man, dressed in camouflage, who was hiding under a bus-stop bench outside the mall. Trimpe said the man "stood out like a sore thumb." He did not know what was happening inside the mall when he witnessed the arrest.
The sprawling, three-level mall has more than 135 stores and restaurants, according to the Web site for General Growth Properties, the manager of the mall. It gets 14.5 million visitors every year, according to the Web site.
On Friday night, authorities removed a live grenade from the parking lot of the same mall.
President Bush was in town Wednesday for a fundraiser in Omaha, but left about an hour before the shooting.
Wednesday's shooting was the second mass shooting at a mall this year. In February, nine people were shot, five of them fatally, at Trolley Square mall in Salt Lake City. The gunman, 18-year-old Sulejman Talovic, was shot and killed by police (Fox News, 2007).
Date: January 30, 2009
Suspect: Timothy Ryan Gutierrez
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Mall: Mall of America
Charges: One count each of transmission of threats and falsely threatening to use explosives
Notes: Indictment says Gutierrez wanted to blow up the mall with 40 pounds of C4 explosive and TNT planted on seven cars parked outside.
Title: Timothy Ryan Gutierrez, Accused Of Trying To Blow Up The Mall Of America
Date: January 30, 2009
Source: NY Daily News
Abstract: A Colorado man has been indicted on charges of threatening to kill President Barack Obama and blow up the Mall of America in suburban Minneapolis. The man said the threat against Obama was a prank.
Timothy Ryan Gutierrez, 20, surrendered Thursday at the FBI's office in Durango and was being held without bond, the U.S. attorney's office said.
A federal grand jury in Denver handed up the indictment Tuesday against Gutierrez, of Cortez, in southwestern Colorado. He was to appear in court Friday. It was not known if he had an attorney.
"Both threats were taken seriously and both threats were investigated immediately by the FBI," said Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for acting U.S. Attorney Dave Gaouette.
Gutierrez faces one count each of transmission of threats and falsely threatening to use explosives.
The indictment claims Gutierrez e-mailed the FBI's Washington office eight days before Obama's inauguration saying: "I'm going to assassinate the new president of the United States of America. P.S., you have 48 hours to stop it from happening."
The indictment says a second e-mail threatened to blow up the mall with 40 pounds of C4 explosive and TNT planted on seven cars parked outside.
"Good luck thank you and God bless the you know the rest time is wasting," the e-mail read, according to the indictment.
In an interview Thursday, Gutierrez told the Cortez Journal that the threat against Obama was just a prank because the president misrepresented himself.
"I'm not mad about him becoming president, but he's not doing what he said he was going to do," he said. "He's not doing anything for the lower class - just the middle and upper class. Medications are going up, not lowering and jobs are being lost. His actions are going to get him in trouble."
Gutierrez said he is from Andrews, Texas and had been staying with relatives in Cortez. He said he didn't have a job in Texas but "played with computers" by taking them apart and putting them back together - knowledge he said helped him hack into the Web site for the U.S. Department of Defense and the FBI.
"I wanted to see what was really going on," Gutierrez said. "There are 500 acres of encryption data (to go through), but I found a slip through it. There's always a hole."
He added that he "didn't think they would actually find" the e-mail message he left on the FBI system.
Cortez Police Chief Roy Lane said FBI agents and two Cortez officers spoke to Gutierrez at an apartment on Jan. 12, the day the indictment says the e-mails were sent.
It wasn't clear why Gutierrez wasn't arrested then and Lane referred those questions to federal authorities. Dorschner and FBI spokeswoman Kathy Wright said they could not comment.Other men in Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi and Nebraska also face charges in connection with threats against Obama (NY Daily News, 2011).
Date: October 21, 2011
Suspect: Tarek Mehanna
Ethnicity: Middle Eastern
Location: Sudbury, Massachusetts
Charges: Conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists
Notes: U.S. Justice Department states that Mehanna wanted to obtain automatic weapons and randomly shooting people nad attacking emergency responders who respond to the attack.
Title: Man Charged In Plot To Attack U.S. Shopping Mall
Date: October 21, 2009
Abstract: U.S. federal prosecutors have charged a Massachusetts man with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, alleging he and co-conspirators traveled to the Middle East seeking training, discussed attacking a shopping center, and distributed videos promoting holy war.
Tarek Mehanna, 27, from Sudbury, Massachusetts, was arrested at his home on Wednesday morning, officials said.
"Mehanna and the co-conspirators had multiple conversations about obtaining automatic weapons and randomly shooting people in a shopping mall, and that the conversations went so far as to discuss the logistics of a mall attack, including coordination, weapons needed and the possibility of attacking emergency responders," the U.S. Justice Department said.
Mehanna had been previously indicted in January 2009 for making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other officials in connection with a terrorism investigation, the Justice Department said in a news release.
Prosecutors allege that from 2001 to 2008 Mehanna conspired with a man named Ahmad Abousamra and others in an attempt to kill, kidnap or injure people in the United States.
The charges accuse Mehanna and co-conspirators of talking about their desire to participate in Islamist holy war and to die on the battlefield. The case was based partly on information from two unnamed people described as cooperating witnesses.
Both Mehanna and Abousamra are believed to be U.S. citizens and Abousamra fled the country for Syria in 2006 after federal officials attempted to question him, acting U.S. Attorney Michael Loucks told a news conference in Boston.
Mehanna was arrested about a year ago before boarding a plane at Logan International Airport in Boston and was later released on bail.
Loucks said Mehanna's arrest on Wednesday was unrelated to President Barack Obama's planned visit to Boston this weekend.
The case comes less than a month after an Afghan-born man, Najibullah Zazi, was accused of plotting a bomb attack against the United States.
Authorities say Zazi took a bomb-making course at an al Qaeda training camp in Pakistan, had bomb-making notes on his laptop computer and acquired bomb-making materials similar to those used in the 2005 London attacks.
Attorney General Eric Holder has called that plot one of the most serious security threats to the United States since the September 11, 2001, attacks. Zazi, an Afghan immigrant and permanent U.S. resident, was indicted last month on a charge of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. He pleaded not guilty and was ordered held in prison without bail.
At a preliminary hearing on his case in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, Mehanna did not enter a plea. Speaking to reporters afterward his lawyer, J.W. Carney, did not say how his client would plead.
Mehanna, who has pleaded not guilty to the previous charges against him, was led into a courtroom in handcuffs, wearing a full beard and a black sweatshirt. When Judge Leo Sorokin suggested Mehanna stand up, he snapped back that "I prefer not to." After his father urged him to stand, Mehanna rose to his feet briskly and knocked his chair over, then stood with his hands in his pockets for the rest of the short hearing.
An FBI affidavit on the case says Mehanna and Abousamra came to know Daniel Maldonado, a New Hampshire man now serving a 10-year sentence for getting al Qaeda military training.
According to the government, an unnamed cooperating witness approached Maldonado seeking automatic weapons for a possible attack that Mehanna and Abousamra were planning against an unnamed shopping mall in which they would "randomly shoot people."
But Maldonado said he would be able to obtain only handguns and Mehanna and Abousamra abandoned the plan, a court filing states.
At another point, in 2003, Mehanna, Abousamra and the unnamed cooperating witness discussed whether they could shoot or kill members of the U.S. executive branch, a court filing states. Loucks said U.S. officials were never directly endangered by this (Reuters, 2009).
Date: December 31, 2008
Suspect: Wissam Freijeh
Location: Odense, Denmark
Charges: 5 Counts of Attempted murder - Sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Notes: The case appears to be staged, as the man was unable to kill anybody he shot at. His sentence for the attempted murder of 5 people is light. Publicity reinforce Israel's depiction that Palestinians are terrorists.
Title: Palestinian Gets 10 Years For Mall Attack
Date: January 15, 2010
Source: Jerusalem Post
Abstract: Danish court sentences immigrant convicted of 5 counts of attempted murder in 2008 shooting attack.
A Palestinian immigrant to Denmark who wounded two Israelis in a shopping-mall shooting allegedly motivated by the IDF's Gaza operation has been convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Wissam Freijeh fired shots with a handgun at a stand selling Israeli hair products in the Dec. 31, 2008, attack in Odense.
His lawyer said the 28-year-old Danish citizen was provoked by Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in late 2008, but did not intend to kill anyone.
The Odense court on Friday found Freijeh guilty of five counts of attempted murder because there were five people at the stand when he opened fire.
Two Israeli employees were injured, while a third employee and two Danish customers escaped unharmed.
It was not immediately clear whether Freijeh would appeal Friday's ruling (Jeruslame Post, 2010).
Date: August 22, 2011
Suspect: Glenn Neff
Location: Washington D.C.
Mall: National Mall
Notes: Likely intelligence agents, as no harm was done and no real charges have been filed in the case. Neff says that he wanted to draw attention to issues he had with the banking industry.
Title: Police Stop Man Attempting To Ignite Fireworks From Jeep At National Mall
Date: August 23, 2011
Source: Fox News
Abstract: A Florida man is under arrest after police say he intended to ignite a large amount of fireworks at the National Mall in Washington, MyFoxDC.com reported Tuesday.
Bethesda, Md.The arrested was made Monday night at the Cabin John Regional Park in
An officer spotted a red jeep Cherokee stopped in an isolated area of the park after it was closed.
The officer made contact with the driver, who was identified as 27-year-old Glenn Neff of Stuart, Fla., and found the vehicle to be loaded with fireworks. The Jeep had also been fitted with a turret and multiple PVC tubes from which fireworks could be shot out of.
Police said Neff told them he didn't want to hurt anyone and wanted to ignite the fireworks on the National Mall to draw attention to himself and issues he had with the banking industry.
Officers also said they located drug paraphernalia and alcohol inside his vehicle.
The Montgomery County Fire and Explosive investigators rendered the devices safe on the scene.
The Joint Terrorism Task Force was notified and responded as well.Neff has been taken into custody and charges are pending (Fox News, 2011).
Date: September 2011
Suspect: Mikolaj G. and Adam K.
Locations: France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic
Charges: Endangering the lives of many people, extortion and racketeering
Notes: Likely the work of intelligence agents, as no harm was done and no real charges have been filed in the case. The attacks have set the precedence for mall and shopping center attacks in America.
Title: Polish Police Arrest 2 In IKEA Bombings In Europe
Date: October 8, 2011
Source: Fox News
Abstract: Polish police say they have arrested and charged two suspects in a series of bomb attacks at IKEA stores in several European countries this year.
The attacks, made with homemade bombs, occurred from May to September in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the Czech Republic. Two people were injured in the German attack but there were no fatalities. Some of the bombs were potentially lethal, though not all detonated.
Andrzej Matejuk, police commander with the Central Bureau of Investigation, said Saturday that two Polish men, both aged 39, were arrested in the case. They were only identified as Mikolaj G. and Adam K. Their full names were not given, in accordance with Polish laws that protect the identities of suspects.
"Significant evidence was gathered on the men which clearly points to their guilt," Matejuk said.
IKEA said it also faced an "extortion threat" after the bombing attacks.
Police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski said that both men were charged with endangering the lives of many people, extortion and racketeering and could face up to 10 years in prison.
He said the men were arrested after hundreds of Polish officers worked on the case along with counterparts in the countries where the attacks occurred.
"Because the bomb loads were getting stronger, there was a serious threat to the life and health of many people. Time counted," Sokolowski told the news agency PAP.
Last month, Europol said it believed the attacks were the work of a single man (Fox News, 2011).
Date: November 9, 2011
Suspect: Lomon Sar
Locations: Aurora, Colorado
Mall: Best Buy
Notes: Likely the work of intelligence agents, as no harm was done and no real charges have been filed in the case. The case sets the precedence for mall and shopping center attacks in America.
Title: Man Threatens To Blow Up Store When Video Game Not In Stock
Date: November 9, 2011
Source: CBS News
Abstract: Employees at a Best Buy in Aurora said a man threatened to blow up the store after he learned a video game he had pre-ordered was not in stock.
The man walked into the Best Buy just after midnight in the 3500 block of N. Salida Court near Interstate 70 and Tower Road.
“The last store I called was the Best Buy by my house and they said okay, we have three copies, two are on reserve and one is here available,” said Lomon Sar. “She charged the card, it was $108… She put my name on the box.”
Police said Sar, 31, went to pick up a hardened copy of the “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3″ he said he pre-ordered and paid for earlier in the day. When he arrived, it wasn’t there and he became irate and angry at the customer service desk.
“He says what’s your name and starts typing in my name and he couldn’t find anything. The manager deleted me off their system! Like, took me out of the system! Took all my information out of the system everything,” said Sar.
“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3″ was released at midnight Tuesday.
Police said he asked employees when they were leaving the store and said that he intended to shoot them in the parking lot as they were leaving work. He also allegedly made another statement that involved blowing up the store.
“I put my hand up to my head and said look I’m so pissed right now I could blow this place up right now. That’s how mad I am!,” said Sar.
Sar was issued a summons for misdemeanor disorderly conduct and trespassing.
“Investigating officers issued a criminal summons to a man who threatened to carry out his own version of modern warfare at the electronics store. Fortunately, this situation did not end in violence,” said Aurora Police Detective Bob Friel.
“I didn’t know words can get you in that much trouble but apparently they can,” said Sar.
Sar said Best Buy did refund $108 he paid for the game.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is a first-person shooter video game. It is the eighth installment of the Call of Duty series and the third installment of the Modern Warfare series. The game is rated M for mature due to blood and gore, drug references, intense violence and strong language (CBS News, 2011).
Title: Police: Man With Hammer Goes On Mall Rampage
Date: December 9, 2011
Source: WMUR 9 News
Abstract: A Dover man is due in court Friday morning after police said he ran through the Fox Run Mall in Newington Thursday smashing windows and display cases with a hammer at six stores.
Newington police said Michael Williams ran around the mall with the hammer claiming to be God.
Several shoppers actually got down on the floor, thinking someone was
shooting a gun.
Witnesses said Williams sat down on a bench and tossed the hammer away before he was arrested. One young woman, who was working at one of the stores, was injured after his arrest when a piece of hanging glass fell on her as she was cleaning, police said.
Out of the six stores that were damaged, Kay Jewelers, Pandora, Yankee
Candle, The Limited and Motherhood Maternity had all reopened Friday after inspection
by the Newington Fire Department. Zales Jewelers was expected to be open by 2
p.m. (WMUR 9 News, 2011).
Title: US Marines Found With
Training Explosives At California Mall
Date: April 6, 2012
Source: Fox News
Abstract: Two Marines from a California desert base were in custody after police found simulator explosives used in military training in their pickup truck at a Los Angeles-area shopping mall, authorities said Friday.
Three large stores were evacuated at the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach after Marine Corps officials alerted police Thursday night, police said. Corps officials told them two active-duty Marines were driving a white pickup truck and had explosives.
Officers found the Marines at the mall and they acknowledged having the explosives, police said. A bomb squad from the Los Angeles County sheriff's office found 10 artillery simulator training devices, which are similar to police "flash-bang" grenades.
Thomas Bazer, 20, and Devin Gajewski, 24, were taken into the custody of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
The two are stationed at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, about 180 miles northeast of the mall. It was not immediately known why they had the explosives and what they were doing in Redondo Beach.Contact information for the two could not be found, and it was not clear whether the Marines had attorneys (Fox News, 2012).
Title: Life Sentence For Man In Muskogee Mall Shooting
Date: October 4, 2012
Source: OKC Fox
Abstract: A man convicted in the shooting death of a teenager at a Muskogee mall has been sentenced to life in prison with parole. The sentence was imposed Wednesday on 22-year-old Dondray Fowler. Fowler was convicted in July of first-degree murder in the 2010 shooting death of 17-year-old Jarrod Reed at Arrowhead Mall. Online court records in Muskogee County show that Fowler was also sentenced to 30 years in prison on convictions of assault with a deadly weapon. The sentences are to run consecutively, or one after the other. Prosecutors say Fowler intentionally shot Reed and wounded four others at the mall. Fowler's attorneys claim the shooting was in self-defense because Fowler was intimidated during an argument between rival gangs (OKC Fox, 2012).
Qaeda '9/11 The Second' Plot To Attack Shopping Malls Foiled In Jordan
Date: October 21, 2012
Source: Fox News
Abstract: Jordanian authorities say they foiled an Al Qaeda plot to attack shopping malls and Western diplomatic missions using suicide bombers, booby-trapped cars and rockets smuggled in from Syria on a date terrorists dub "9/11 the second."
Some 11 suspected Al Qaeda-linked militants were arrested for what would have been the terror group's first attack since a triple hotel bombing in Amman almost seven years ago, which killed 60 people, the government said Sunday. Al Qaeda has targeted Jordan because of the government's alliance with the United States and its 1994 peace treaty with Israel. The foiled plot was to take place on Nov. 9, seven years to the day after the Amman attacks. While American tradition lists numeric dates by month, day and year - hence Sept. 11 is known as 9/11 - the international protocol is day, month and year, meaning Nov. 9 is noted as 9/11.
A Jordanian official told the BBC "this was an al-Qaeda plot timed for the anniversary of the Amman attacks. The plotters "had planned to bring TNT explosives and mortar shells from Syria," state news agency Petra said. The goal was to "create a highly destructive explosive that would cause the highest number of casualties and extensive physical damage," Petra reported.
The authorities said they had seized large quantities of ammunition, machine guns and other items such as computers, Reuters reported. The militants were training to use "suicide bombers using explosive belts and booby-trapped cars", said another security source.
Jordan borders Syria and is home to at least 200,000 Syrians who have fled the civil war there. A Jordanian security source told Reuters the plotters wanted to attack while Jordan's security forces are stretched as it deals with the wave of refugees from Syria.
News of the alleged plot came as the country prepares to vote for a new parliament in January. Jordan has its own militant Salafist movement - ultra-conservatives who want Islamic Sharia law to be implemented in Jordan as a prelude to an Islamic state. Members of the group have been convicted of trying to recruit militants to fight against U.S.-led troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, plotting attacks against US and Israeli embassies in Amman and planning to kill foreign tourists, according to the BBC.
"They were plotting deadly terror attacks on vital institutions, shopping centers and diplomatic missions." - Sameeh Maaytah, Jordanian government spokeman
The officials and diplomats, insisting on anonymity because they are not allowed to make statements to the press, have warned of possible plots to destabilize the kingdom. They say militants seek to use its territory as they consolidate their foothold in Syria -- which lies on Jordan's northern border.
Announcing the foiled plot, government spokesman Sameeh Maaytah told an impromptu press conference that the suspects are all Jordanian and are in police custody. Jordan's state TV broadcast headshots of the suspects -- all in their 20s and 30s with most of them sporting long beards -- identifying them as "militants."
"They were plotting deadly terror attacks on vital institutions, shopping centers and diplomatic missions," he said. "They sought to destabilize Jordan," he said. "They plotted against Jordan's national security."
A statement by Jordanian intelligence said an investigation showed that the group "adopts the ideology of Al Qaeda" and that it nicknamed its terror plot as "9/11 the second."
The militants sought to carry out their attacks in stages, it added, with initial attacks on shopping centers and foreigners in Jordanian hotels, followed by more deadly strikes with powerful explosives and chemicals on Western diplomatic missions and unspecified "vital national sites."
One attack involved firing rockets at a district in the Jordanian capital that houses the U.S., British and other diplomatic missions as well as housing for expats and Western diplomats.
The statement said Al Qaeda "explosive experts" based in Iraq and elsewhere have assisted the suspects with manufacturing home-made explosives.The statement did not say when the suspects were arrested, but Maaytah -- the government spokesman -- said Jordanian intelligence apprehended them in the past few days (Fox News, 2012).