Revealed: Over two decades of Massachusetts links to Al-Qaeda inspired terror
The Boston bombers were not the first jihadists with links to Boston and the state of Massachusetts
The Boston bombers – Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – are the latest in a broader pattern of militancy in the state of Massachusetts, according to a new report.
26 further individuals closely tied to jihadist activity have been based in Massachusetts, including 15 individuals who lived there, with offenses going back over 20 years.
Based on analysis from the a recent report entitled "Al-Qaeda in the United States: A Complete Analysis of Terrorism Offenses", these individuals include:
From as early as 1993, the report suggests, there has been jihadist activity in Massachusetts, including fundraising for jihad; those convicted for planning jihad; and even those who have been killed while fighting abroad.
Prior to last week’s Boston bombing, there had been 26 individuals with links to Massachusetts connected to AQ and AQ-inspired terrorism. Fifteen had lived in Massachusetts, with eleven 9/11 hijackers using the Boston area as a temporary base from which to launch their attacks.
While the motivations of the Tsarnaev brothers are still somewhat unclear, the events in Boston can still be viewed in the context of the ongoing threat that Massachusetts has faced from AQ and AQ-inspired militancy.
Robin Simcox, research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society and co-author of Al-Qaeda in the United States, said:
"While not previously the target of a terrorist attack, Boston – and Massachusetts more broadly – has been a hive of militant activity for over two decades. Al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda inspired operatives have used Massachusetts as a base from which to plan, finance and commit acts of terror.
"The U.S. has been largely successful in degrading al-Qaeda’s capacity to commit co-ordinated, mass casualty acts of terrorism. However, there is a clear need to remain vigilant against those who have been radicalised in the U.S. and aspire to smaller – but still deadly – terrorist acts. The al-Qaeda inspired threat is ongoing, and should continue to be treated with the utmost seriousness."
The full analysis, "Historical Ties to Jihadism in Massachusetts", can be read here.
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