Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law, killed in Madagascar
Khalifa had an extensive history in funding, plotting al Qaeda terrorist activities; Task Force 145 likely scored the kill
Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, one of Osama bin Laden's brother-in-laws with deep roots in al Qaeda as a financier and facilitator, has been killed in his bedroom in Madagascar. Khalifa, "who mined and traded precious stones in Madagascar," was reported to have been killed by "a gang of 20 to 30 gunmen broke into his brother's bedroom, shot him dead 'in cold blood' and stole his belongings."
Khalifa's family initially claimed he wasn't killed due to his involvement with al Qaeda. "I don't think [his death] was politically motivated," said Malek Khalifa, Mohammed Jamal's brother. But Malik and the family later pointed the finger at the US for assassinating Mohammed.
Khalifa's deep ties to al Qaeda, coupled with his history of funding global terrorist operations, his operations in mining precious stones in Africa, a source of untraceable income, and the size of the 'gang' that murdered him suggests Khalifa was assassinated. "They stole everything - his computer, all of his things," said Khalifa's brother. A US intelligence official confirmed that Khalifa was a target.
Task Force 145 has a mandate to hunt down senior al Qaeda operatives world wide, and is known to have operated in Pakistan to destroy Osama bin Laden's Black Guard. Also, the U.S. recently deployed naval assets to the region, as well as Task Force 145, in the hunt for al Qaeda and Islamic Courts leaders fleeing Somalia.
Jamal Khalifa's history with al Qaeda and Islamic terrorism is extensive. His involvement with al Qaeda stretches as far back as the late 1980s, at the founding of the terrorist organization.
He was instrumental in the establishment and financing of the Abu Sayyaf Group, a Filipino terrorist and criminal gang made up of fighters returning from the Afghan jihad against the Soviet Union. Filipino forces, back by the United States and Australia, are fighting against Abu Sayyaf to this day. Khaddafy Janjalani, the recently slain leader of Abu Sayyaf, claimed just prior to his death that Khalifa funded Abu Sayyaf. Khalifa also funded the Islamic Army of Aden, which was responsible for the suicide boat attack on the USS Cole which killed 17 US sailors.
Khalifa was behind two major Islamic charities which support al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups. He founded Benevolence International Foundation, which funded terrorist activities in the Philippines, Chechnya and Bosnia. Benevolence International was designated as a financiers of terrorism under Executive Order 13224.
He also was the head of the Philippines chapter of the International Islamic Relief Organization, which has extensive ties to al Qaeda and international terrorism.
Khalifa also participating in the planning and financing of the Operation Bojinka airline plot, which was conceived in the Philippines. The plot included bombings in the Philippines, the assassination of Pope John Paul II, ramming airplanes into each other over the Indian Ocean, and slamming airplaines into the "CIA headquarters, the Pentagon, an unidentified nuclear power plant, the Transamerica Tower in San Francisco, the Sears Tower, and the World Trade Center." This plot was foiled in 1995.
Khalifa was arrested in the United States in Decmeber of 1994, and "The FBI finds and quickly translates literature in Khalifa's luggage advocating training in assassination, explosives, and weapons, bombing churches, and murdering Catholic priests. Over the next weeks, they discover his ties to funding bin Laden's activities, as well as to Ramzi Yousef and other Operation Bojinka plotters." Information connecting Khalifa to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Osama bin Laden, associates of Ramzi Yousef, and Bojinka plotter Wali Khan Amin Shah were also found. He also contacted Hambali, the former Southeast Asian commander of al Qaeda who is now in U.S. custody. Hambali attended planning sessions in the Philippines for the 9-11 strikes.
Mohammed Jamal Khalifa is an example of the failure in exclusively relying on the law-enforcement model for counterterrorism operations. Khalifa was detained numerous times, but each time was freed. Khalifa was released by the U.S. and deported to Jordan, where he was sentenced to death for a string of bombing in the country. The conviction was overturned after a witness recanted. "No government had enough evidence to put him behind bars," noted a CBS News report in 2003. "Khalifa was arrested in America, in Jordan, and after 9/11, in Saudi Arabia, and on each occasion was eventually released."