News & Politics

Source: Chelsea Bomber's Sister Also a Jihadi Sympathizer

Ahmad Khan Rahami is taken into custody after a shootout with police Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, in Linden, N.J. Rahami was wanted for questioning in the bombings that rocked the Chelsea neighborhood of New York and the New Jersey shore town of Seaside Park. (Nicolaus Czarnecki/Boston Herald via AP) /The Boston Herald via AP)

CBS News is reporting that Chelsea bomber Ahmad Rahami’s sister may hold pro-jihadi views.

Site Intelligence Group published Facebook posts allegedly shared by Rahami’s sister Aziza. Some quote radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

In other posts, she appears to praise terrorists, and use imagery popular with the Muslim Brotherhood.

“It seems like the family may have adopted some of the same viewpoints as he did, but again, it’s too early to say if they were directly involved with the attack itself,” said Tara Maller, a senior policy advisor at the Counter Extremism Project.

Awlaki was an advisor to several 9/11 hijackers and also offered advice to Ft. Hood terrorist Nidal Hasan. “If you were to look at people who had committed acts of terrorism or had been arrested and you took a poll, you’d find that the majority of them had some kind of exposure to Awlaki,” said one U.S. counter-terrorism official who has followed his impact closely.

Friends of Rahami’s said he changed after an extended trip to Afghanistan in 2014, describing him as more distant and religious.

Rahami’s father insisted he told the FBI his son was a terrorist.

“The way he speaks, his videos, when I see these things that he listens to, for example, Al Qaeda, Taliban, he watches their videos, their poetry,” he said.

The FBI denied Rahami’s father informed them of his terror sympathies.

The FBI told CBS News: “At no time did the father advise interviewing agents of any radicalization or alleged links to Al Qaeda, the Taliban or their propaganda.”

Rahami remains unconscious in a hospital after a shootout with police. Authorities are still trying to determine if he worked alone or was involved with other terrorists.