Posts Tagged ‘bank robbery’

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Low on donations, AQAP goes on robbery spree

November 21, 2014

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is robbing whatever they can—banks, post offices, and exchange houses in a desperate bid to keep the money flowing for their arms and operations, according to Yemeni sources.

Traditionally, robberies are a hallmark of poorly funded terrorist groups that are unable to obtain financial support from more legitimate channels such as contributions from sponsors. It is possible that as Iraq and Syria have become the target for wealthy Gulf donors, other fronts of the global jihad aren’t receiving the same level of sponsorship that they received a few years ago.

From Al-Shorfa on Nov. 6 (h/t El Grillo):

AQAP loots Yemeni citizens’ livelihood to fund its crimes

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has resorted to robbing banks and government facilities to finance its activities, researchers told Al-Shorfa.

In mid-October, AQAP stormed al-Udayn Post Office in Ibb province, stealing 30 million riyals ($140,000), the official news agency Saba reported.

In August, AQAP gunmen stormed the town of al-Qatn in Wadi Hadramaut and robbed a number of local banks and exchange companies, including the Agricultural Credit Bank and a branch of the National Bank, according to news reports.

AQAP is currently suffering from a shortage of funding, which it needs to cover the cost of its crimes and for weapons and explosives, said Saeed al-Jamhi, a researcher specialising in Islamist groups.

This is why the group has resorted to burglary, looting, bank robbery and plundering, despite the fact that Islam forbids such practices, he told Al-Shorfa.

“Extremism has many facets, including unlawfully shedding the blood of others — the most grievous crime,” al-Jamhi said. “Deeming the money of Muslims as permissible [to steal] is another aspect of extremism.”

AQAP resorts to misinterpreting and misrepresenting religious and jurisprudential texts, distorting their words or not interpreting their true meaning, he said, adding, “The sanctity of human life is greater than the sanctity of money, and whoever deems it permissible to take a human life has no qualms about seizing the money of others”.

“Al-Qaeda’s practices, including the heinous killings of innocent civilians, and its bank robberies and looting of state funds by plundering post offices, are unacceptable under Islamic sharia law,” al-Jamhi said.

“These acts have given the world a distorted picture of Islam and brought harm to Muslims,” he added.

Al-Qaeda ‘sheds innocent blood’

Fares al-Saqqaf, strategy advisor to the Yemeni president, told Al-Shorfa that AQAP’s bloodshed and looting indicates it is “in a state of great weakness and disarray”.

The group “is in an obvious state of weakness due to the war waged against it and the siege laid on it both domestically and abroad in the context of the war on terrorism, as represented by the military campaign battling it locally, the army’s pursuit of its gunmen and the blocking of its funding sources”, he said…

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ISIS steals $429 million in Mosul; IB Times cites Money Jihad in comparison of richest terror groups

June 12, 2014

Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has taken control of Mosul in a major setback for Iraqi and regional security.  Mosul’s central bank was seized in the process, and the International Business Times is reporting that ISIS gained control of the $429 million stored in the bank.  IB Times cited Money Jihad‘s research into the richest terrorist organizations in the world as evidence that the seizure catapults ISIS to the top of the list.

Mosul Seized: Jihadis Loot $429m from City’s Central Bank to Make Isis World’s Richest Terror Force

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (Isis) has become the richest terror group ever after looting 500 billion Iraqi dinars – the equivalent of $429m (£256m) – from Mosul’s central bank, according to the regional governor.

Nineveh governor Atheel al-Nujaifi confirmed Kurdish televison reports that Isis militants had stolen millions from numerous banks across Mosul. A large quantity of gold bullion is also believed to have been stolen.

Following the siege of the country’s second city, the bounty collected by the group has left it richer than al-Qaeda itself and as wealthy as small nations such as Tonga, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and the Falkland Islands.

ISIS soars to upper echelon of well-funded jihadist groupsThe financial assets that Isis now possess are likely to worsen the Iraqi governement’s struggle to defeat the insurgency, which is aimed at creating an Islamic state across the Syrian-Iraqi border.

The Islamist militants took control of Mosul after hundreds of its fighters overwhelmed government  military forces in a lightening attack on Monday, forcing up to 500,000 people to flee the city and Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki to call a national state of emergency.

The militants freed up to 1,000 inmates from Mosul’s central prison, according to senior police officials. They are also in control of Mosul airport and local television stations…

An organized counter-offensive will be necessary to take back control of northern Iraq out of ISIS’s blood-soaked hands.  If more commitment had been made by the Obama administration on perfecting a status of forces agreement with Iraq prior to the departure of American troops, this may have been prevented.

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India: 5 bank robberies funded 2 mass casualty terrorist attacks

June 8, 2014

Two terrorist bomb attacks in India in 2013—the October bombing in Patna which killed 6 and injured 85, and July bombings at Bodh Gaya that injured 6—were funded by five bank robberies by jihadists in Madhya Pradesh.

This revelation comes from Indian Mujahideen operative Haider Ali, also known as “Black Beauty,” who participated in the Patna and Bodh Gaya bombings. Black Beauty received money for the attacks from Abu Faizal, also known as “Doctor,” who is in charge of the terrorist group Student Islamic Movement of India’s (SIMI) chapter in Madhya Pradesh. Doctor allegedly masterminded the bank robberies in the region to finance the bombings.

This case illustrates a new and menacing level of collaboration between the Indian Mujahideen and SIMI. From the Telegraph (hat tip to Jai) on May 29:

Bank loot finger at Simi for attacks

RAMASHANKAR

Students’ Islamic Movement of India (Simi) members have looted nationalised banks to fund their terror activities in the country, according to the confession of an alleged Indian Mujahideen operative.

A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team took Haider Ali, alias Black Beauty, an alleged Indian Mujahideen operative, in remand on Friday.

Ali, along with three other key suspects in the 2013 serial bomb blasts in Patna and Bodhgaya, were arrested from Jharkhand last week. He is in remand till June 6. Ali (26), originally from Aurangabad, told the interrogators that he used to receive money from Abu Faizal, alias Doctor, the self-styled chief of the Madhya Pradesh Simi unit, to carry out terror attacks. He claimed that Faizal also provided funds for the Patna and the Bodhgaya blasts.

He purportedly revealed that Faizal was the brain behind five bank robberies in Madhya Pradesh, including a Mallapuram heist in Khandwa in which Rs 1.25 crore was looted in October last year. Ali had gone to Khandwa to meet Faizal before the terror attacks in Bihar last year.

A senior official of a central intelligence agency said Ali’s confession has helped the intelligence and security agencies to establish a link between the IM and Simi, declared a banned outfit in 2001…

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Indonesia becomes den of thieves for jihad

August 19, 2013

Eurasia Review has a very good article by V. Arianti laying out the dwindling funds available from international Muslim donors to Indonesian jihadists, and the replacement of those revenues with theft and bank robberies–a trend we’ve been following for a while.

Arianti correctly points out that terrorists in Indonesia have justified these robberies on the basis of Islamic law.  Reliance on theft is also a possible indicator of a weak financial status of the terrorist organizations involved.  Historically, terrorist groups turn to crime when they lack enough external or political support.

Thanks to El Grillo for sending this over:

Indonesian Terrorism Financing: Resorting To Robberies – Analysis

July 30, 2013

A record number of robberies have been perpetrated by terrorists in Indonesia over the past three years. This could be a sign of their inability to secure donations and international funding, the result of counter operations against terrorist and extremist groups.

By V. Arianti

SINCE 2010, there have been dozens of bank heists conducted by numerous terrorist cells, some of them linked to Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (Mujahidin of Eastern Indonesia or MIT). Led by Santoso, MIT is currently the most dangerous terrorist group in Indonesia and is responsible for a string of deadly attacks against police. Besides banks, the terrorists have also robbed gold shops, mobile phone shops, post offices, money changers, internet cafes, grocery stores, and construction material shops.

In the first half of 2013 alone, MIT’s funding arm, Mujahidin Indonesia Barat (Mujahidin of Western Indonesia or MIB) led by Abu Roban, reaped a total of Rp 1.8 billion (US$180,000) from a series of bank heists. While in the past, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and its splinter cells had conducted robberies to supplement their funding for terrorist attacks, two factors may explain the significant increase in the number of heists since 2010.

Dearth of international funding

Firstly, terrorist groups are finding it increasingly difficult to procure funding from international sources since the killing and arrests of key figures in the international fundraising network in 2009 and the growing decentralised nature of their network. Each cell is at present mostly manned by youths lacking international connections which the terrorist operatives of the past had.

The terrorism landscape in Indonesia prior to 2010 was characterised by the ability of key figures such as Hambali and Noordin Mohammed Top to attract international donors willing to fund high-profile attacks in Indonesia. Al-Qaeda allegedly funded the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings, the 2003 J.W. Marriott bombing and 2004 Australian Embassy bombing in Jakarta.

The 2009 J.W. Marriot and Ritz Carlton Bombing was allegedly funded through a Saudi national, Ali Khelaiw Ali Abdullah who reportedly had a list of potential global donors. Another person with international connections for terrorism fundraising was Muhammad Jibril who allegedly flew with Ali in 2008 to Pakistan to establish contact with Al-Qaeda operatives and to Saudi Arabia to solicit funds to carry out attacks in Indonesia.

However, Jibril was in prison from August 2009 to November 2012. Abdullah Sunata, another key figure who had supplied funds from the Middle East for the insurgents in Southern Philippines, was arrested in June 2010 and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

Secondly, terrorists are not able to secure enough money through “legitimate” means, such as donations from sympathisers. The extremist community has set up a few charities to provide financial assistance to the families of terrorists such as Gashibu Nusantara. However, if indeed a portion of the funds did go to terrorist cells, the sum would not only be insufficient, but also might not reach all cells equally.

Religious justification for robbery

In addition, the fact that some fugitive terrorists complained online of the reluctance among the extremist community to give them substantial financial assistance for fear of being arrested is likely another factor for resorting to robberies.

Although terrorists were able to gain sufficient proceeds from criminal activities, only a small portion actually went to funding activities, including for weapons procurement or training. Indonesia’s Counter Terrorism Agency (BNPT) Chairman Ansyaad Mbai in June 2013 noted that the terrorists used the rest of the money for personal gain. It is in line with terrorists’ arguments that it is religiously justified if they use funds for personal expenditure. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Armed robbery for jihad comes to America

June 2, 2013

Robbing banks to fund terrorism has been a technique used by radicals for decades in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia.  Except for isolated incidents in the U.S., such heists haven’t normally been used by to finance domestic terrorism.

But if Erwin Antonio Rios had his way, outright theft for jihad would have come to American shores.  The 19-year-old Muslim convert wanted to commit violent robberies and use the loot to buy weapons and travel overseas.

From WNCN via Creeping Sharia:

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – A 19-year-old from Fayetteville pled guilty to charges related to his plans for terrorist activities, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Erwin Antonio Rios, 19, of Fayetteville, pled guilty Tuesday to a charge of possession of a stolen firearm. He was arrested in February.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said that Rios wanted to take the gun overseas to carry out what he called “jihad” on non-believers in Islam, U.S. forces included. The DOJ said Rios explained jihad as various forms of violence against those he determined to be non-believers. The DOJ characterized the intentions as terrorist activities.

In a press release, the DOJ wrote that Rios planned to fund his trip by committing violent robberies in North Carolina, leaving no witnesses alive.

“Erwin Rios intended to commit violent acts against innocent people in furtherance of his extremist doctrine of hate,” said John Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Charlotte Division of the FBI.

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Suspects robbed banks to fund terror

May 19, 2013
Indonesian law enforcement detain a hooded jihadist

Indonesian police hauling off one of the suspects

Indonesian police have carried out raids against 20 terrorists who were involved with raising money for jihad.  The men were involved with bank robberies in at least three different cities, and at least one jewel heist in Jakarta.  Four of the detainees had immediate plans for a new bank robbery in central Java.

Indonesian jihadists have previously asserted that robbing banks to finance terrorism is compliant with Islamic law.

From the Jakarta Post on May 10:

Terror suspects linked to Poso

The National Police’s counterterrorism unit, Densus 88, conducted a series of successful overnight operations against terrorists with links to the Abu Omar and Autad Rawa groups, the police say.

The 20 terror suspects — seven killed and 13 arrested — in the raids across Java are linked to the groups that collect money to support the activities of mujahidin (those engaged in jihad) in Poso, Central Sulawesi.

Early investigations indicated that the men had been involved in armed robberies at Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) offices in three cities.

“They stole Rp 790 million [US$81,192] from BRI in Batang and Rp 630 million from BRI Grobogan [both in Central Java]; and Rp 460 million from BRI Lampung. They also attempted to burn down Glodok Market in West Jakarta,” said National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar on Thursday as quoted by Antara news agency.

The suspects carried out various initiatives to collect money, including robbery.

“Four alleged terrorists were planning a robbery in Kebumen [Central Java], when they were arrested in an overnight raid in the regency,” said Boy.

It is alleged that one suspect, Abu Roban alias Untung, had been involved in some robbery cases — a jewelry store in Tambora, West Jakarta; as well as the three BRI offices — before Densus 88 officers killed him in Batang.

Police linked the suspects with Santoso, who is believed to be behind a series of attacks in Poso over the past few years.

Santoso himself is a former member of a terror group led by Basri, a member of the Jamaah Islamiyah (JI) group. Basri surrendered to police after a gunfight on Feb. 1, 2007, in Poso where a Muslim-Christian conflict killed at least 1,000 people over the course of 1998 to 2002.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Densus 88 personnel raided areas in Batang, Kebumen and Kendal in Central Java; Bandung in West Java; and Banten. During the raids, the officers shot dead seven suspects and 3 others were captured alive.

“The terror suspects killed during the raids were identified as Abu Roban, Bastari, Toni, Bayu alias Ucup, Budi alias Angga, Junet alias Encek and Sarame,” Boy announced.

The suspects captured alive in Jakarta were Agus Widharto, Agung, Endang, Faisal alias Boim and Iman.

Iwan and Puryanto were arrested in Kendal. While four others — Budi, Farel, Slamet and Wagiono — were apprehended in Kebumen.

The two suspects arrested in Bandung were Haris Fauzi alias Jablud and William Maksum, alias Acum alias Dadan.

The bodies of the three dead men were flown to Dr. Sukamto Police Hospital in Kramat Jati, East Jakarta, on Thursday after being examined at Bhayangkara Hospital in Semarang.

During the raid in Ciputat, Densus 88 officers confiscated Rp 25.48 million, while in the Bandung raid, the police found two revolvers, an FN Browning pistol, hundreds of bullets and Rp 6 million in cash…

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Mumbai: bank robberies and bitcoin fund terror

April 16, 2013

The Indian Mujahideen have been using bank robberies to finance their activities according to a former high-ranking law enforcement official.  D. Sivanandhan is also concerned about bitcoin’s role in funding militants, but it should be noted that no evidence or data are included in this news report:

Banks looted to finance terrorism: Security expert

Mumbai, April 11 (IANS) Bit coin and crypto currencies are becoming major avenues for money laundering and terror groups often rob banks for funding terrorist acts, a top security expert said.

“Investigations have revealed that the hijackers of the Indian Airlines IC-814 had looted a bank three months before the (Kandahar) hijack, which helped them finance the entire terror operations,” said former Maharashtra director general of police and security expert D. Sivanandhan.

Similarly, the terror outfit Indian Mujahideen has also been allegedly involved in several bank robberies to finance its operations, Sivanandhan said at a conference — ‘Leveraging Innovative Security Solutions for Banks and Financial Institutions’ — that concluded here late Wednesday…

See related Money Jihad coverage of bank robberies for jihad here, here, and here, and background on the Indian Mujahideen’s financial activities, which include hawala and extortion, here.