Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law, killed in Madagascar


Mohammed Jamal Khalifa. (CBS Photo). Click photo to view.

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."



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READER COMMENTS: "Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law, killed in Madagascar"

Posted by Michael at January 31, 2007 10:32 AM ET:

One by one. This is why I support the Global War on Terror. The information Bill outlined is but one subplot among thousands that our nation, the West, and Europe ignored for far, far to long.

There is a time for diplomacy and there is a time for war. We've played to nice with these thugs. thieves and murderers in the past. What it got us was death of 3000 innocent Americans who did not wish to harm anyone, who were working for their dreams, their families and beign productive people in a free and open society.

IF we cannot support our troops and our soldiers in IRaq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Phillipines and around the world today, then when?

I am tired of leftist talking points that blame our country, our soldiers, our President and essentially - 60 million people - who voted for Victory in 2004.

We need to stand firm and support our soldiers in victory.

Posted by Mike at January 31, 2007 11:55 AM ET:

There was a great article in the New Yorker a few months back on the gem trade in Madagascar. It's utterly lawless, so it wouldn't surprise me if this guy was offed by another unscrupulous gem trader. Maybe we'll learn more in the coming days.

Posted by David M at January 31, 2007 1:24 PM ET:

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 01/31/2007
A short recon of what's out there that might draw your attention.

Posted by Hoax Meister at January 31, 2007 2:22 PM ET:

Good job to whatever group or government took this guy out.

Although it may have been more helpful to arrest him and bring him up on charges, the situation might not have allowed that to be the case. Either way, this should slow down al Qaeda a bit.

Posted by RJ at January 31, 2007 2:56 PM ET:

My kind of great news! I think of all those families this evil man's life impacted and wish for them some peace. This war will not end by conventional means, cancer operates on a much different plane--and this mass movement enveloping the muslim world is for us a deadly cancer. Wipe it out as best as possible is my motto! Nice job on one evil bastard!

Posted by richj at January 31, 2007 3:33 PM ET:

"They stole everything - his computer, all of his things,"...

Hmm. Sound like intelligence gathering to me.

Posted by Harold C. Hutchison at January 31, 2007 3:46 PM ET:

When the law enforcement model fails... the Los Pepes approach can generally be a good fall-back option.

Posted by Dale in Atlanta at January 31, 2007 4:32 PM ET:

Bill: Hi, and don't forget, aside from Abu Sayyaf and Operation Bojinka, he helped plan, fund, and maybe even carry out, the WTC '93 Bombing!

Posted by John F Not Kerry at January 31, 2007 5:46 PM ET:

Khalifa, "who mined and traded precious stones in Madagascar," was reported to have been murdered by "a gang of 20 to 30 gunmen broke into his brother's bedroom, shot him dead 'in cold blood' and stole his belongings."

Man. Talk about adding insult to injury!

Posted by Sil at January 31, 2007 6:13 PM ET:

I'm not sure that an account that 20-30 men were involved in breaking into a room to kill a man in his sleep indcates the work of an elite special forces group, rather than the report just being wrong.

Would the shooting really have been necessary ? Surely if 30 men break into your bedroom they will consume all the oxygen and suffocate you in short order.

Posted by Dave Schuler at January 31, 2007 7:15 PM ET:

The second link in paragraph two is defective.

Posted by negentropy at January 31, 2007 7:23 PM ET:

the report is of course wrong. It was not 20-30 men - just one American marine.

Posted by Jerry at January 31, 2007 7:52 PM ET:

Very interesting site, read it all :)

Posted by Neo-andertal at January 31, 2007 8:21 PM ET:

Go to Wiki and enter this guy's name, you'll get a nice write-up. He's a catch and release from way back. We had him in '92. Let him go.

Posted by Neo-andertal at January 31, 2007 8:31 PM ET:

Ok, Wiki has a few dates wrong. He was captured and deported to Jordan in '95.

Posted by Nick at February 1, 2007 5:08 AM ET:

Sil:

I'm not sure that an account that 20-30 men were involved in breaking into a room to kill a man in his sleep indcates the work of an elite special forces group, rather than the report just being wrong.

More than likely. Anyone who knows the world of Malagasy precious stones, either through experience or in passing, knows that it's a cut-throat business; it's not uncommon for dealers and middlemen to have their rivals bumped off. There was a great article in the New Yorker a couple of months back.

Posted by MikeB at February 1, 2007 9:19 AM ET:

I'm wondering if this guy was taken out by the US-or-allies, or if somebody Khalifa crossed in the underworld went after him. I think the degree to which this is a good thing in the GWOT depends on who took him out.

Posted by IvanS at February 1, 2007 11:00 AM ET:

My guess it was a rival hit and the computer will be sold to US operatives. 20 to 30 men--I doubt it.

Posted by David M at February 1, 2007 2:16 PM ET:

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 02/01/2007
A short recon of what's out there that might draw your attention.

Posted by Wally Lind at February 1, 2007 4:12 PM ET:

Great Work! Congratulations Task Force 145!

Posted by Mike H. at February 2, 2007 1:00 AM ET:

Internationally franchised operation, locally done. The better business model.

Posted by John Taylor at February 3, 2007 9:44 AM ET:

I wonder if He gains martyr status by getting killed in bed? Sooner or later they will all meet Allah, and then let the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth begin.