A Dallas-based ISIS recruiter gave the green light to Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi, encouraging him to “kill them and show no mercy,” according to a report in the Italian news outlet L’Espresso last week. Newsweek also reported the connection earlier this week.
Even more remarkable, U.S. authorities knew about the conversations months in advance of the terror attack and cited them in court document this past March when they charged the ISIS recruiter — 40-year-old Said Azzam Mohamad Rahim of Richardson, Texas — for lying to FBI investigators.
The FBI knew about the conversation months in advance of the bombing that killed 22 and injured 250+ who were leaving an arena in Manchester following an Ariana Grande concert on May 22.
The Australian reported:
The Manchester Arena bombing was authorised in an online chat between a plotter, an Islamic State operative in Syria, a jihadist recruiter in Dallas and a Moroccan-born Islamist living in Turin, it was claimed yesterday.
The online conversation took place on August 28 last year using the Zello secure messaging app and was intercepted by the FBI, according to L’Espresso, an Italian weekly magazine.
One of the five people taking part in the chat asked: “Sheikh, I live in Manchester, in Great Britain. I live among non-Muslims. I have found work with them. Am I allowed to kill them? Is it permitted to kill them with a bomb?”
The sheikh, who is thought to have been living in Syria, replied with a phrase from the Koran: “Fight the pagans all together.”
The man from Dallas was identified by L’Espresso as Said Azzam Mohamad Rahim, who was born in America to Jordanian parents. He allegedly said: “To the boy from Manchester I say, OK, kill them! Show no mercy to civilians.”
Rahim was arrested this past March — more than two months before the bombing — and indicted for making false statements to the FBI:
Richardson Man Indicted for Making False Statement to the FBI: Said Azzam Mohamad Rahim was charged with six coun… https://t.co/5L6XRcC1h3
— FBI Dallas (@FBIDallas) March 24, 2017
Rahim was stopped by FBI agents at DFW Airport on March 5, where he was questioned about his statements in support of ISIS. He intended to board a flight to Jordan.
The Dallas CBS affiliate reported on Rahim’s arrest and indictment:
A Richardson man was indicted on charges of lying to the FBI about his support for ISIS.
Earlier this month, agents met up with Said Rahim inside terminal D at DFW International Airport. After he went through security and waited to board a flight to Jordan, agents say he agreed to answer questions. Investigators arrested him after he lied about his past statements about ISIS.
Rahim is accused of praising ISIS’ violent activities in chat rooms and encouraged people to engage in violent jihad.
The FBI agent says Rahim glorified last year’s terror attacks at the Orlando night club and at the Bastille Day celebration in Nice, France. In the chat room, Rahim is accused of saying, “France will wake-up to a tragedy, a catastrophe (chuckle) … a great killing, implemented by … one of God’s lions … against those infidel French.”
In a later post, Rahim is accused of telling someone it was ok to murder non-Muslims in England. “Kill them and do not show them mercy or compassion. If you have the ability to go and kill, poison them, throw a rock, push down a building … the important thing is that you kill.”
It’s now been reported by L’Espresso that “someone” was none other than Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi.
The criminal complaint filed in federal court the next day describes the August 28, 2016, online conversation that Rahim and four others, including Abedi, participated in. During the conversation, Abedi asked:
I don’t want to interrupt … but with your permission, Sheikh; I reside in Manchester, Britain and work with persons who are all foreigners. Is killing them permissible? Is killing them permissible or not, or bombing them or anything else? I want to … to understand this matter from the Sheikhs of the [Islamic] State. Is killing any person permissible?
According to the federal complaint, Rahim replied:
OK, may God Bless you. I was going to grab the microphone so I would tell him, the one in Manchester. OK, kill and do not consult anyone or seek the opinion of others; kill. Kill them and do not show them mercy or compassion for neither the civilian clothes protect them nor the military uniform sanctions the shedding of their blood, they are all the same in their unbelief. Kill them I mean… don’t event consult with anyone.
Go and kill, if you have the ability to go and kill, poison them, throw a rock, push down a building, do whatever you do; the important thing is that you kill. Kill with intention of waging jihad for the sake of Allah, and the intention that your banner is clear, the banner of ‘[t]here is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’ … kill them I mean with the intention of jihad, with the-the intention of you being a mujahid for the sake of God, maybe this act, I mean, forgives your past and future transgressions.
Rely on God; kill if you have a chance, to hell with those Englishmen … The killer of an infidel will not go to hell. It is well known that shedding the blood of the infidel is lawful; shedding the blood of the infidel is lawful. But, if they say to you in this case that he was a safeguarded ally, then where is the Islamic State that this infidel lives in to be considered an ally and a free non-Muslim under Muslim rule? Does he pay Jizyah [tax]? Does he, does he, does he? No! So, kill, kill … if you ask the scholars of the tyrants they will tell you not to kill him. But, kill him, rely on Allah and kill them. Think of a way to kill the biggest number possible of those, may Allah’s curse fall on them.
According to the L’Espresso report, the unnamed “sheikh” who participated in the conversation is believed to be an ISIS operative living in Syria. The participant in Turin was named in the report as Mouner el-Aoual, who has been arrested.
Rahim, born in America to Jordanian parents, is currently being detained on the charges outlined in the complaint after a federal judge ruled him to be a flight risk.
So far, Rahim has not been charged in connection to the Manchester bombing.
What warnings the FBI gave to UK authorities prior to the Manchester bombing — if any — is still unknown.