During trial of Islamic Jihad senior member, FBI agent says group planned to carry out attack on U.S. soil; says agency has classified information to prove group planned attack
Islamic Jihad planned terror attacks in the United States, which were successfully thwarted by American law enforcement, an FBI agent said Wednesday.
The agent testified at the trial of former college professor and senior Islamic Jihad member Sami al-Arian accused of managing a branch of the organization in Tampa, Florida.
Prosecutors have claimed in a 53-count indictment that al-Arian and three other suspects – Hatem Naji Fariz, Sameeh Hammoudeh and Ghasan Zayed Ballut – fund-raised for the group, which the State Department lists as a terrorist organization.
During questioning by the defense, Agent Kerry Myers was asked whether Islamic Jihad had ever carried out an attack beyond Israel’s borders.
While the agent answered “no,” he did say the group had threatened such an attack.
The lawyer replied by asking whether the attack was ever executed. Myers said the FBI has in its possession such evidence connecting the suspect to a thwarted attempt in the U.S.
Meyers added that he could not disclose any details about alleged plots by Islamic Jihad as the information is classified.
Prosecution has more than 500,000 recorded telephone calls taped over the past 10 years.
The FBI began monitoring al-Arian and his associates in 1995, after Ramadan Shellah, a senior member of a research institute al-Arian established in Tampa, was appointed to Islamic Jihad’s secretary-general in Damascus.