Al-Qaeda Claims U.S. Killed 'Blind Sheikh' in Prison, Calls for 'Violent Revenge'
Al-Qaeda accused the United States of withholding necessary medication from "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel-Rahman, the mastermind of the deadly 1993 World Trade Center bombing who died behind bars Saturday.
They also released a final statement from the sheikh complaining of strip searches that explored his private parts "front and back," claiming that he could be poisoned behind bars and calling for "the most powerful and violent revenge" in the event of his demise.
Abdel-Rahman, 78, was serving a life sentence at the Federal Medical Center, Butner, in North Carolina. He had been blinded at a young age by diabetes, and reportedly passed away from complications of coronary heart disease and diabetes.
In a statement issued by their As-Sahab media, al-Qaeda's central command grieved the sheikh "after a battle with the tyrants of the earth lasted almost six decades of his life" and winding up "in the grip of the people of the Cross."
The terror group also noted operations that had been conducted over the years in an effort to win Abdel-Rahman's release, including the kidnapping of westerners by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb as well as al-Qaeda in Pakistan and its Yemen branch.
Citing Abdel-Rahman's family, who first released the news of his death, al-Qaeda alleged "the Americans decided to kill him in prison" by withholding drugs.
Al-Qaeda encouraged followers to "slay" in the sheikh's name as "Americans enjoy security and safety," targeting U.S. interests everywhere.
Al-Qaeda also released a parting statement from Abdel-Rahman in their Al-Nafir Bulletin, in which he said the Americans were using his imprisonment to "rub the pride of the Muslims in the dirt."
He complained of being filmed while bathing or using the toilet in solitary confinement, being strip-searched "until I am as naked as when my mother delivered me" before "they look into my private parts, from the front and the back -- what are they looking for?" and of not having any fellow Arabic speakers visit. "If it were not for reciting the Quran I would have been afflicted with many psychological and mental illnesses," he said.
The statement attributed to Abdel-Rahman also said he was prevented from Friday prayers and from celebrating Islamic holidays, or having "any contact with Muslims."
"They are undoubtedly killing me, especially while I am isolated from the world. No one sees what they do to me in my food and drink. They may employ the method of slow killing with me, where they put poison in the food or a medicine or an injection, and may give me dangerous, bad medicine, or they may give me a quantity of lethal drugs or a madness-inducing drug," he said. "This is in particular, while I smell strange and awful scents from the floor above me, constantly accompanied by a 'whoosh,' like the sound of an old air conditioner, with knocks, noise, and hammering, like the sound of grenades, which continues for hours, day and night."