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January 23, 2005
AQ Branches Out To Insurance Scams For Funding

In a sign that the global effort to dry up terrorist funding has had an impact, the Germans arrested two al-Qaeda operatives allegedly planning an attack in Iraq. Before the attack, however, one planned to fake his death in order to use insurance money to fund AQ operations:

German police arrested two suspected al-Qaida members Sunday believed to have plotted a suicide attack in Iraq with a side venture in insurance fraud, taking out a policy on the suicide bomber to use the money to fund the terror organization.

The chief suspect, 29-year-old Iraqi Ibrahim Mohamed K., is also believed to have tried to obtain nearly two ounces of uranium in Luxembourg.

He also "played a not unimportant role in al-Qaida, because he showed signs of contact with Osama bin Laden and met with Ramzi Binalshibh," one of the plotters of the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States, chief federal prosecutor Kay Nehm told reporters.

The Iraqi took out a million-dollar life insurance policy on his partner, who planned on faking his death in Egypt to get the policy cashed out. The pair planned on passing the money up the chain of command for further attacks. This kind of plan has a much higher risk than their traditional money-laundering through Islamic charity organizations. The paper trail for insurance policies keeps the trail alive after the crime. Also, insurers routinely assign investigators to check out large payouts, and any attempt to collect the benefits of this policy would have had red flags popping up all over the place.

Now that the plan has been exposed, it seems likely that more such policies will be discovered in the months ahead and international investigators may uncover more AQ connections. Terrorist leaders had to know that involving insurance companies created far more risk than they've assumed in the past. They may have miscalculated just how much exposure could result -- or they may simply have had little other choice for funding.

By the way, the Iraqi's mission was to recruit suicide bombers for Iraq to disrupt the elections. Guess who his partner was?

The other suspect, a 31-year-old Palestinian, identified as Yasser Abu S., was allegedly recruited by the Iraqi to be a suicide bomber in an attack in Iraq. The Palestinian is a Bonn medical student, who was born in Libya and has an Egyptian passport, Nehm said.

A Palestinian as a suicide bomber? No kidding! Who'd have thought it?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 23, 2005 9:10 PM

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