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Canadian terrorism suspect’s extradition OK’d
Question of the Day
A Canadian judge has approved extraditing to the United States an Iraqi-born Canadian citizen who the Justice Department has charged with conspiring to kill Americans abroad, including five soldiers, and with providing material support to terrorists.
Justice Adam Germain in Edmonton, Alberta, ruled Friday that evidence in the case is sufficient to bring Tahir Sharif Sayfildin, 38, to the United States, where he is charged with supporting a multinational terrorist network that conducted multiple suicide bombings in Iraq.
According to a criminal complaint filed in January 2011, the five soldiers were killed on April 10, 2009, when a Tunisian jihadist drove a truck laden with explosives to the gate of the U.S. military’s Forward Operating Base Marez in Mosul, Iraq.
David Kris, assistant attorney general for national security, said at the time of the complaint that the jihadist exchanged fire with Iraqi police officers and then a U.S. convoy that was exiting the base. He said the truck detonated about 50 yards from the gate, alongside the last vehicle in the convoy.
The five soldiers killed were Staff Sgt. Gary L. Woods, 24, of Lebanon Junction, Ky.; Sgt. 1st Class Bryan E. Hall, 32, of Elk Grove, Calif.; Sgt. Edward W. Forrest Jr., 25, of St. Louis; Cpl. Jason G. Pautsch, 20, of Davenport, Iowa; and Army Pfc. Bryce E. Gaultier, 22, of Cyprus, Calif.
As alleged in the complaint, Mr. Sayfildin had a conversation the day after the attack with one of the Iraqi-based terrorists during which he asked, “Did you hear about the huge incident yesterday? Is it known?”
When the terrorist replied that he had, Mr. Sayfildin stated, “He was one of the Tunisian brothers.”
The terrorist responded, “Praise God. May God acknowledge him,” and Mr. Sayfildin said, “Amen.”
That conversation, along with others referenced in the complaint, was recovered pursuant to Canadian court-authorized wiretaps and search warrants.
U.S. prosecutors also said that Mr. Sayfildin’s terrorist network was responsible for a suicide bombing on an Iraqi police station in March 2009, in which at least seven Iraqis were killed. They said that attack was committed by two other Tunisian jihadists recruited by Mr. Sayfildin’s network.
Prosecutors said that after the bombing, the brother of one of the bombers received an anonymous phone call in which the caller repeated three times that the bomber had “been martyred two days ago in combat with the Americans in Mosul.” The caller went on to say, “May God witness what I say. God is great.”
According to the complaint, the terrorist network unsuccessfully tried to send a second group of Tunisian jihadists to Iraq in March 2009.
In online conversations with one of those jihadists as the jihadist was preparing to leave Tunisia, Mr. Sayfildin advised him not to leave a will and to “try to delete everything off your computer. Don’t leave one character of information or anything behind. Don’t leave any trace. Do not forget to keep reading Koran and repeat the famous prayers on the way until you meet with God.”
That jihadist was arrested by Tunisian authorities as he attempted to leave the country in April 2009, prosecutors said.
It said that in January 2010, he told another person: “There is no more pressing duty after the declaration of faith than fighting the enemy. Fighting comes before the other four pillars of faith.”
In July 2010, he stated: “Islam came for the good of humanity. So if someone doesn’t like good, we fight them, like those dog Americans.”
According to the complaint, Mr. Sayfildin — who also is known as Faruq Khalil Muhammad, Faruk Khalil Muhammad Isa and Sayfildin Tahir Sharif — also sought to conduct attacks himself and become a suicide bomber for the terrorist network.
He told his mother in November 2009 that his greatest wish was to die a martyr and be greeted by 70 virgins in paradise. The complaint also said Mr. Sayfildin volunteered to travel to Iraq, take up arms against the Americans and conduct a suicide mission.
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