Friday, December 08, 2006

FBI Arrests Mall-Bombing Suspect

Just a news byte:

An informant's tip led the FBI to arrest a suspect who allegedly intended to set off hand grenades in a Rockford, Illinois shopping mall.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that he was a Muslim convert who had aspirations of being a jihadist. The informant was a friend who tipped off the FBI.

Update Dec. 11, 2006: As CBS reported, it's clear that they arrested this suspect, Derrick Shareef, well before he could do any serious damage. He was acting alone, with scarce finances. In short, he didn't yet have the means of carrying out an attack, though he apparently had the desire:

As depicted by [U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois Patrick] Fitzgerald, Shareef was predisposed to violence but devoid of cash; a dangerous man who freely chatted about bombing a county courthouse, a city hall, a federal building, and then the mall.

"He did not have the money to buy the grenades. He was gonna hock and barter two stereo speakers to the undercover to buy the grenades," Fitzgerald said, proof Shareef was not directed or financed from overseas.

So Shareef fits a pattern of indicted "wanna be" terrorists with big ideas but no apparent means or backing from our real enemies.
The FBI has been paying special attention to those inspired by al-Qaeda, like the London subway bombers:
The FBI's Special Agent in Charge of its Chicago field office, Robert Grant, standing next to Fitzgerald on Friday, explained the nation's shift from investigating al-Qaeda to al Qaeda–inspired plotters.

"We've been focused for about two years on those types of domestic cells that could develop or individuals," Grant said.

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