At a Glance | October 2

Somali National Conducts Vehicle and Stabbing Attack in Canada

A man drove a car into the traffic barriers outside of a football game honoring military personnel in Edmonton, Canada on September 30. He struck one police officer and then got out of the white Chevrolet Malibu and stabbed the officer, who sustained non-life threatening injuries. The driver fled on foot and was stopped several hours later in a U-Haul van at a police checkpoint. Officers at the scene realized that the name on the license provided by that driver was similar to that of the registered owner of the Malibu. The man, identified as Abdullahi Hassan Sharif, 30, a Somali refugee, then fled in the U-Haul and struck four pedestrians. The chase ended after the U-Haul flipped on its side and Sharif was taken into custody. Police recovered an ISIS flag in the Malibu. The use of vehicles as weapons has increased over the last year, due to encouragement by ISIS and other foreign terrorist organizations. Elsewhere, ISIS took credit for a stabbing attack October 1 in France that left two women dead. A soldier killed the assailant.


Neo-Nazi Leader Pleads Guilty to Firearms and Explosives Charges in Florida

The leader of a white supremacist group in Florida faces up to 11 years in federal prison after pleading guilty September 27 to charges of possessing illegal firearms and a destructive device, and storing explosives. The case against Brandon Russell, who had enlisted two of his roommates in a group called Atomwaffen Division, stemmed an investigation into their deaths that led to murder charges against another roommate, Devon Arthurs. Police said Arthurs, who was 18 at the time of the May slayings, told investigators he killed his roommates because they were neo-Nazis and criticized his conversion to Islam. Russell, a Florida National Guardsman who was 21 at the time of the killings, kept a framed photograph of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in his bedroom. Investigators discovered bomb-making materials, including HMTD, several pounds of ammonium nitrate and homemade fuses, during the murder investigation. Russell fled Tampa after finding the bodies and was arrested in the Florida Keys. Police found the illegal weapons—two rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition—in the trunk of his car.


Brooklyn Trial Nears End for US-Born Man Accused of Aiding al-Qa’ida

pic.jpg

A man born in Texas was convicted September 29 of joining al-Qa’ida and helping plan an attack on US forces in Afghanistan. Muhanad Mahmoud al Farekh, 31, faces up to life in prison on charges that include conspiring to murder Americans and use of a weapon of mass destruction, and supporting a foreign terrorist organization. His defense team challenged forensic findings that prosecutors said linked al Farekh to an unexploded truck bomb found at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan, on January 19, 2009. Prosecutors asserted that al Farekh became radicalized while studying at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. Authorities said the students watched videos by Anwar al-Aulaqi, the US-born, Yemen-based preacher with al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula who was killed in a US drone attack in 2011. Al Farekh went to Pakistan in March 2007 with two college friends and connected with al-Qa’ida, prosecutors said. He flew back in custody in 2015.


For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Analysis Bureau at analysis@njohsp.gov or 609-584-4000.