One of the most notorious terrorists ever known in Belgium, has surfaced on the Syrian front. Abdelkader Hakimi (48) — once supposed to be the European leader of the ‘Groupe Islamique Combattant Marocain’ and named as one of the brains behind the deadly bombing in Madrid of March 11, 2004 — is befriending young recruits of Shariah4Belgium now.
The flood of Belgian fighters going to Syria until now consisted mainly of young and unexperienced recruits. People who came never into contact with real terrorism yet and were still children when the west was hit by bloody attacks like those of 9/11 in the United States. The remnants of the underground cells that formed the operational core of Al Qaeda those days — and often had ramifications into Belgium — didn’t seem to join the Syrian jihad. But that is changing now.
In April of last year already, Belgian media reported that Rachid Iba (34) had left his town Maaseik to fight in Syria. In 2006, Iba was convicted as a member of the ‘Groupe Islamique Combattant Marocain’ (GICM), a terrorist organization that later would become part of ‘Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’ (AQIM). At that time, it was already named as perpetrator of the bombings at Atocha railway station in the Spanish capital Madrid, were 191 people were killed in 2004. At the proces against the Belgian cell of GICM, Iba wasn’t considered a heavyweight. He got three years of which two suspended and was free again soon afterwards.
That wasn’t the case for Abdelkader Hakimi, who was seen as the European leader within GICM and whose contacts reached as far as the inmate population of Guantánamo Bay. In the eighties already, he was sentenced to death in his native Morocco, and being on the run for many years, he lived in Algeria, Libya, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Botswana using several false identities. According to intelligence services, he has fought on the side of muslim extremists in the Bosnian war, and reportedly he also got a terrorist training in Afghanistan.
In Morocco, he’s suspected of complicity in the Casablanca bombings that killed 45 people on May 16, 2003. He is also considered as one of the architects of the bloody attack by GICM in Madrid, that reportedly was partly planned during a meeting with French and Spanish GICM members in the quiet Belgian town of Maaseik. With that resume, Hakimi certainly ranks as one of the most dangerous islamic terrorists that ever appeared in a Belgian court. He got eight years and had to stay behind the bars until the end of 2011.
After he got out of jail, he settled in Brussels with his wife, according to media reports. At that time his lawyer said Hakimi had become “a completely different person”. But his Facebook account that the Belgian newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ discovered recently — and that is linked to genuine former comrades — shows little proof of that. It contains a picture of the late Osama bin Laden, surrounded by heavy weapons of war. His profile picture is showing him at the time of his trial, blindfolded and surrounded by cops during the transport from his cell to the court — as if he’s proud of being convicted.
The most intriguing detail however, are the snapshots that he posted in April this year — made out of a car in the war torn suburbs of Aleppo, the northern Syrian city that has long been under control of extremist groups. It is not clear how long Hakimi has been in Aleppo, nor whether he still is in Syria. The Facebook page doesn’t give any detail about his activities there, but his friends list may be a reason to worry. It clearly shows that he is forging ties with young western fighters on the Syrian front.
One of his actual friends is the Belgian ISIS fighter Azeddine Kbir Bounekoub (21, a.k.a. ‘Abu Gastbijshaam’), the guy that only last week has called for more attacks in Belgium, explicitly referring to the brutal murder of four people in the Brussels Jewish Museum. Belgian security services are rightly concerned about an extremist like Bounekoub returning home, and their fear should grow now that his links with a seasoned Al Qaeda operative are established. People like Hakimi can pass decades of experience in the world wide terrorism to the young foreign fighters, learn them all the tricks needed to commit an attack and introduce them in a network that has proved it’s bloody clout already several times.
Last weekend, Syria watcher Pieter Van Ostaeyen announced the death of the 30th Belgian foreign fighter on his Twitter account. But the identity of ‘Abu Sayyaf’, as the man was called, remained unknown.
Today the Belgian newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ revealed his true name and a bit of background. ISIS fighter ‘Abu Sayyaf’ or ‘Abu Sayeef’ turns out to be Nabil Azahaf, 21 years old and coming from the Brussels community of Saint Josse ten Noode. He is mentioned in the affidavit with which the public prosection has asked for a trial against 46 members of the now disbanded organization Shariah4Belgium, suspected of recruitment for the Syrian war.
Apart from being a member of a terrorist organization, Azahaf is also accused of complicity in kidnappings and murders in Syria. As far as known, those accusations are based on internet videos and testimony of Jejoen Bontinck, a fighter who says that he was abducted by his former comrades in Syria because he wanted to leave, escaped to Belgium and cooperated with the police.
Of the 46 people listed in the affidavit mentioned above, at least nine are killed in Syria now. Because their is no legal proof of death however, the complaints against them continue to exist. Before he went to Syria, Azahaf was active in martial arts, as much of his companions were. He practised Thai boxing in Brussels as a member of ‘Team AFC’.
Today, the Belgian newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ identified the 29th Belgian fighter who has died in Syria. Khalid Bali was 17 years old and lost his brother Mohammed last year already in the Syrian war.
“Breaking news: six fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham became martyrs last night near Deir Ez-Zor”, the Belgian ISIS member Hicham Chaïb — a.k.a. Abu Haniefa — announced last Sunday on his Facebook account. “One of them is Abu Hamza Al-Belgiki and another one Abu Usama Al-Hollandi. May Allah accept them as martyrs and grant them the highest rank in paradise!”
No further details were given about the identities of the deceased, but journalists from the Belgian newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ quickly discovered their compatriot was Khalid Bali, a teenager from the Antwerp suburb of Merksem who would have turned 18 at the end of July. Bali’s older brother Mohammed was one of the early members of Shariah4Belgium, an organization of radical muslims that is associated with a fair big amount Belgian fighters who went to Syria.
Reportedly, it was Mohammed who introduced the now imprisoned leader of Shariah4Belgium, Fouad Belkacem, to Brian De Mulder — the Flemish boy with a Brazilian mother who was raised as a christian, but became one of the most famous European fighters in Syria. Mohammed himself was killed in September 2013 near Homs at the age of 23. That same month, Khalid urged his comrades in Belgium to join him in a lengthy Facebook post.
“There’s nothing we can do in Belgium”, he wrote. “These days we are obliged to make hijra and revive our religion as in the time of our Prophet. That is only possible when we stand up and give our lives for Allah. This life is worth nothing, it is only a short period in which Allah is testing us. Be strong and grab your faith with both hands. I have merely come to Syria to seek the satisfaction of our Lord. You should know this life is short, while the life hereafter will last forever.”
There are at least two other Belgians with the name Bali who went to Syria: Brahim and Abdelaziz (both 27). They were mentioned in an affidavit of the Antwerp prosecutor’s office, charging 46 members of Shariah4Belgium with terrorist offences for recruiting or joining the jihad in Syria. Brahim and Abdelaziz are still supposed to be in Syria. Brahim appears to be a nephew of the deceased brothers. He was caught in Yemen while trying to join Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) back in 2012. After his expulsion to Belgium, he traveled to Syria with his wife Yasmina Zamrouni (23).
Belgian police meanwhile arrested two young women from Antwerp allegedly trying to leave for Syria. They were caught last week at Brussels Airport and are the first to be detained already in Belgium on the suspicion of wanting to join the jihad. Usually, it is very difficult to prove that intention. But thourough investigations, including telephone taps, seem to be sufficient in this case. The young women are 17 and 19 years old, one of them the sister of a young man already fighting in Syria, and according to extremist sources, their aliases are ‘Oum Abbas’ and ‘Oum Haneefa’.
UPDATE. Following details were released this morning about the two women by ‘Free Aseer Abu Imran’, the Facebook page supporting Shariah4Belgium leader Fouad Belkacem. The information is copy-pasted as published there:
“Oum Abbas is a young muslimconvert who had many trials from Allah Azzawadjal, but that she was not less firm. On the contrary, she was known for her strong will and Iman. And many sisters praise her for her fear of Allah (taqwa), honor and sincerity. That’s why Allah Azzawadjal chose her for this unique trial.
Oum Haneefa is the other dear sister, despite her young age, she had a huge ghierah for the deen that you rarely find these days with regular Muslims. She have been always active in helping and supporting the Muslims. She was known for her kheir towards the Muslim families of the usaraa (prisoners) and ofcourse the needy. If you were in need of something, she would be the first person you would like, whether it was her smile or phonecall or a visit to you. She was always there for you. And we wallahi we testify by Allah Azzawadjal that we will stand up for her, especially as she was always there for us, now that she’s a aseer.
From the Public Ministry is said they are arrested at the airport and they were prevented to travel to Turkey. They were as said on the radar and signaled to Interpol and that they were arrested immediately upon notification. Since then they are detained at the prison of Antwerp, Belgium. They were under suspicion in supporting the case of terrorism, because they supposedly were traveling to Syria.
May Allah ta3ala prevail the truth above all falsehood and lies.
For us, these sisters are truly innocent from the beginning till the end of this. Please keep share this information through your network and make alot of dua’a for them and all of the muslimprisoners.The exact age of the sisters is not mentioned, but from our sources we heard that they are around 18 years old. Oum Abbas is a belgian convert and Oum Haneefa is born in belgium with roots in Morocco.”
A Belgian woman who accompanied her husband to Syria for the jihad, calls for the assassination of far right politician Filip Dewinter. “May Allah enlighten our eyes with the slaughter of this swine.”
Filip Dewinter, pictured above, is one of the leaders of Belgium’s far right party ‘Vlaams Belang’. He has angered muslims by presenting a game on the internet in which immigrants and muslims can be clubbed down. It is titled ‘Minder, Minder’ — ‘Fewer, Fewer’, a reference to the slogan his Dutch counterpart Geert Wilders recently used to promote the expulsion of foreigners.
Yesterday, already more than 50 people had filed an official complaint against Dewinter for his racism. But that didn’t please Umm Haniefa, the wife of a well known Belgian islamist. “Don’t you know that filing a complaint is against islam? A true muslim doesn’t lean upon kuffar in fighting other kuffar”, she decried on her Facebook page. “It would be better that a second Mohammed Bouyeri rises among you to deal with this pig as was dealt with the swine Theo van Gogh.”
Bouyeri was the Dutch muslim who ten years ago shot and stabbed to death film director van Gogh, known as an outspoken foe of islam. Umm Haniefa’s husband, Abu Haniefa, was one of the leaders of the now disbanded ‘Shariah4Belgium’. His real name is Hicham Chaïb and several months ago, he left his home town Antwerp with his wife to join the radical ‘Islamic State in Iraq and Shaam’ (ISIS). Apparently, they are in Ar-Raqqah now.
Politician Dewinter already announced that he will file a complaint against the woman.
As already mentioned on Twitter by the well informed Pieter Van Ostaeyen, another Belgian fighter has been killed in Syria. And on the same day, a new one arrived
The dead Belgian apparently belonged to Jabhat al-Nusra and he was slain last friday while manning a lookout in Sheikh Najjar near Aleppo. His true identity remains unknown, but in the meantime a picture has surfaced on Facebook.
According to original poster ‘De Basis’ — a collective of Dutch and Belgian jihadis in Syria — the picture was taken the day before the fighter’s death. “He agreed to be filmed and photographed for a dawah project, and soon a video will be published showing more from him.”
Several comrades who knew him personally, already paid their respects. “A truly beautiful brother”, Abu Muhammad stated. “You should take a look at his mobile phone, because he wrote marvellous poems”, the Aleppo based fighter from the Dutch city of Den Haag elaborated.
His Belgian compatriot Abou Fudayl Shami yesterday wrote that the slain fighter was using the alias ‘Abou Handalah’ and will be deeply missed. “I can testify about your nobility and your commitment to jihad. I’ve seen how you proved that. May the mighty God give us more lions like you.”
According to Van Ostaeyen’s research, this fighter is the 27th Belgian who has died in Syria. There may be some double countings, but the list of the Belgian fighters who are/have been in Syria contains already 396 names.
The case of ‘Abou Sabir Al Belgiki’ proves that there are still new departures. That 24 year old from the Antwerp neighborhood of Borgerhout announced last friday on his Facebook account that he had reached his goal.
“Mother, I’m in Syria now. I can’t come back after all the efforts I’ve made. Allah would not forgive me and I hope you can accept that”, he wrote. Yesterday, he also posted some pictures on which he’s posing with a weapon.
Conversations with his comrades learn that his real first name is Fahd and an older picture on his Facebook account is showing his face. He seems to be of Moroccan descent and clearly is a supporter of the disbanded radical organization ‘Shariah4Belgium’.
Belgium’s youngest fighter in Syria appears to be only thirteen years old. Brussels born Younes Abaaoud was taken there by his older brother at the end of January. Abdelhamid (27) has joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) and told his father by phone that Younes doesn’t take part in the war — despite pictures of him with a gun.
Father Omar, a Moroccan born shopkeeper living already about forty years in Belgium, revealed the fate of his sons yesterday in the Belgian newspaper ‘La Capitale‘. He described the youngest one as a boy who never showed signs of religious extremism, told about his fear that he never will see him again and that his third son too could decide to join the other two.
We managed to find the Facebook accounts of both brothers, learning more about them. Abdelhamid is using the alias ‘Abou Omar Soussi’, referring to his father’s name and the Souss region in Morocco where his family has it’s roots. His account is active since July 15 of last year, mentioning ISIS (“Dawla Islamiya fi L’Iraq wa Cham”) as affiliation and showing a picture of him in Syria with the comment: “Abou Omar the Belgian in the trenches”, posted on February 8, 2014.
Four days ago, he also linked to a video showing him during a fight, hosted by YouTube and also saved here. The part in which he appears, is titled “Message of Abou Omar Al-Belgiki from the land of the battles” and starts at 00:04:31. “Our enemy advances with tanks, heavy artillery and plenty of men”, he tells in French, “while we are only about fifty fighters, lacking artillery and most of us only armed with a kalashnikov. But we do have the mightiest weapon a man can have in the fight against the enemies of Allah.”
One of the people reacting in the following days, was his own sister Yasmin. “Apparently, you feel that your weapon won’t help against your enemies, who are much more numerous and well-equiped. Why don’t you leave that place?” His answer: “Those who read and understand the coran, know that military overweight doesn’t bring victory. Only Allah does. Most of the victories that muslims were given by Allah, were victories of a minority.”
Back in the video, Abdelhamid explains why it is making him happy to see the blood of infidels being spilled. “That’s because I had to watch my entire life television images of muslim blood being spilled. I pray that Allah will break the backs of those opposing him, their soldiers and their admirers, and exterminate them.” He also calls muslims from all over the world to come to Syria. “A muslim should only submit to Allah, while you are submitting to the infidels”, he says.
Younes seems to use a Facebook account under the alias ‘Abou Mansour’. Although the date of birth mentioned there — June 22, 1990 — cannot be right, there are several interactions indicating it is him. For example, when pictures of Younes with a gun are posted, his brother reacts: “Truly a man” and another European fighter states: “Truly a fighter.” It is ‘Abou Mansour’ who takes the credits by answering: “Thank you, brothers. May Allah bless you.” Probably he just wanted to look older than he really is, not so unusual for a teenager.
Also pointing in his direction is the fact that ‘Abou Mansour’ is active on Facebook since January 26 of this year, around the moment both brothers arrived in Syria. One of the images is showing Younes there in the company of another Belgian fighter, ‘Abu Houdaifa Ahmed’. He is one of the ‘Shariah4Belgium’ followers from Vilvoorde near Brussels who traveled to Syria — ending up in a group of Belgian and French ISIS fighters based in Hraytan near Aleppo. Last month, they were forced to move to Azaz, after which they were implicated in several cruelties such as beheadings.
During the past few days, three Belgian fighters reportedly were killed in Syria. All of them belonged to the radical ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Sham’ (ISIS). One of their women, back from Syria herself since only two months, learned about her husband’s fate yesterday evening by seeing a picture of his dead body on a friend’s Facebook account.
The wife of ‘Abu Muthanna’, one of the Belgian dead, saw his picture (WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE) on the Facebook page of Hicham Chaïb (a.k.a. ‘Abu Haniefa’, a.k.a. ‘Muhajirien As Shaam’), the only remaining leader of Shariah4Belgium currently fighting in Syria. “My husband?” she reacted in panic. “Can anybody contact me please to tell what’s going on?”
Several hours later, still no visible answer was shown. It is unsure whether Hicham Chaïb is on the same spot where ‘Abu Muthanna’ had died, since Chaïb is mentioning Homs as his place of residence and the three Belgians were killed somewhere in between of Ar-Raqqah and Hasakah, according to the French ISIS fighter ‘Abu Abdillah Mujahid’ — who appears to be the original source of the picture that Chaïb has shared.
“On Tuesday, six of our people were killed in battles against the Free Syrian Army, Ahrar Al-Sham and Jabhat Al-Nusra near the village of Margada, two of them Belgians”, the Frenchman wrote. “On Wednesday seven, one of them from Belgium and another one from the Netherlands.” He didn’t mention any names, but apart from ‘Abu Muthanna’ and slain comrades from Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Indonesia, he also posted a posthumous picture (WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE) of an African man, telling the guy was a Belgian from Malian descent.
‘Oum Almuthanna’, as the woman mentioned above is calling herself, is a sister of Noureddine Abouallal (a.k.a. ‘Abou Mujahid’)— another member of the triumvirate that took over as leaders of Shariah4Belgium after the arrest of founder and public face Fouad Belkacem (a.k.a. ‘Abu Imran’). Abouallal was killed while fighting in Syria in July of last year (a video eulogy can be seen here) while his third colleague Feisal Yamoun (a.k.a. ‘Abu Faris’) has died there last month (video here). All of them were living in of near the Belgian city of Antwerp and share Moroccan roots.
In January, ‘Oum Almuthanna’ and Abouallal’s widow Tatiana Wielandt — a Flemish muslim convert — came back from Syria. They both appeared to be pregnant, and apparently they didn’t want to give birth in the midst of a vicious war. According to their parents, they got help from the Belgian authorities while traveling home. After their arrival, they were questioned by the police, but not arrested.
UPDATE: a partly French spoken video of the remains of ‘Abu Muthanna’ can be seen here — with a warning again for it’s graphic content.
Published already a while ago, this tribute to former Shariah4Belgium leader ‘Abou Mujahid’ contains some unseen images — literally from his childhood to his grave.
Please do realise it is showing his dead body too. Reminder: ‘Abou Mujahid’ was killed last summer fighting in Syria. His real name was Noureddine Abouallal and he was one of the three Shariah4Belgium leaders after the arrest of public face Fouad Belkacem — a.k.a. Abu Imran.
Originally posted on YouTube by user Nusrah Bil-Jihaad and backed up here.
Will the Prime Minister ever admit that they have met? – A eulogy for ‘Shariah4Belgium’ leader Abu FarisPosted: 2014/02/18
A few hours ago, a eulogy was published in Dutch on the Facebook page ‘Free Aseer Abu Imran’, ran by supporters of ‘Shariah4Belgium’. It’s about Feisal Yamoun from Antwerp, also known as Abu Faris. He was a leader of the extremist organization who died this month in Syria. Here is a quick translation of some excerpts.
“A mercy for the Ummah, a nightmare for the enemy, an example for the worshippers, an ordeal for the cowards and a softener of the heart for the oppressed. This is a short description of my brother, my companion, my hero, the hero of islam and the lion of the Ummah, Feisal ‘Abu Faris’ Yamoun.”
“Who was he? May Allah be pleased with him. He was born 30 years ago in an affluent neighborhood of Berchem. He grew up in the Antwerp diamond district. At a young age, he already was aware about the prayer. After his studies, he started as a student coach in different school of Antwerp. He has always had a tendency to speak with young people.”
“Then he started to work as an event planner for political venues and sport events. He has met the most famous Belgian politicians and athletes. Will Secretary of Defence Pieter De Crem or the Flemish Prime Minister Kris Peeters ever admit that they have met Abu Faris? A successful businessman with a brand new BMW and a bright future, as he once was described by his former colleagues.”
“At one point, he began to delve into the faith by listening to the wonderful lectures of Sheikh Anwar Al-Awlaki. He decided to start living for the hereafter instead of this humiliating world. He sold his house, his expensive car and began his blessed journey into Islam. I ask you by Allah, how many people do you know who sell their home because they seek the satisfaction of Allah?”
“He did establish a system of one month working and one month studying. Like that, he gathered knowledge, while we sometimes didn’t understand why he had suddenly disappeared. He only stayed at home in order to study, subhanallah.”
“In 2010, he and Abu Imran decided to proclaim the dawah of tawheed openly. He was the sahib of Abu Imran, wallahi Abu Faris and Abu Imran were complementary. I’ve never seen a couple of brothers being complementary as they were in my entire life.”
“May Allah gather both brothers under his shadow on the day there is no other shadow than that of him. They came together purely for the love of Allah, may Allah reward them. Abu Faris is yet another proof that it aren’t the marginal, the future-less, and the low lifes who were doing dawah and hijra fi sabilillah after that. By Allah, they are the best of this pernicious society. Abu Faris truly enchanted the brothers with his wonderful character and sublime charisma.”
“One day, he went to the Moroccan consulate in Antwerp, asking for a Moroccan passport. Normally people have to wait one or two months for that, but when they learned who he was, they gave to him after only two weeks. Those taghut even were wishing him a good trip. When asked why he did so, he said: ‘I gave those idiots false hope. Now they think I’m going to Morocco to be tortured. Let them wait for me!’ How we laughed with Abu Faris! May Allah smile at him just like he did make us smile.”
“Abu Faris also was a specialist in counter-espionage. He had all sorts of gadgets to make the kuffar mad. He made several recordings with hidden cameras during his meetings with politicians and secret services. The proces against Abu Imran will be exciting when those recordings will be surfaced.”
“This is really not an exaggerated glorification, we are Allah’s witnesses on earth. May Allah bless his mother for having shared a pearl like him with us. Media have done everything in their might to marginalize Abu Faris. They told he terrorized the Seefhoek quarter with his two pitbull’s. But how can someone who lived all his life in Berchem in the heart of the diamond district terrorize the Seefhoek? It’s a gang of vulgar liars!”
“The vision of Abu Faris was unbelievable. He wanted neither unskilled criminals, nor highly educated traitors to the faith, but a new generation of confident, skilled and dedicated mujahideen. That was the vision of this strategist. Abu Faris was a statesman, one who looked for the best for the Ummah and not the best for himself. Allah did test him during his dawah, people have boycotted him from all sides. He even lost his job through intimidation by the state security and the bank did freeze his accounts. Only because he openly proclaimed the word of Allah.”
“When Allah saw that his servant was this strong and steadfast, he chose him for his army in Bilaad As-Shaam. His blessed army, his blessed flag and his blessed aim. Abu Faris had a slogan in his life: “Dress yourself with new clothes, be thankful to Allah and die as a martyr.” He lived and died in accordance with that.”
UPDATE: ‘Free Aseer Abu Imran’ has published a brochure with the eulogies for Abu Faris, Abu Atieq and Abou Mujahid — all three Shariah4Belgium leaders killed in Syria
Today, a new picture emerged of Brian De Mulder, one of the most famous Belgians fighting in Syria. Raised in a catholic family in Antwerp as son of a mother who immigrated from Brazil, he even made headlines in Time magazine.
The photograph was published on the Facebook account of Hicham Chaïb, another Syria fighter from the city of Antwerp, pictured on the left of De Mulder. Also known as ‘Abu Haniefa’ and ‘Muhajirien As Shaam’, he was part of the triumvirate that took the lead of Shariah4Belgium after it’s founder Fouad Belkacem (a.k.a. Abu Imran) was imprisoned in Belgium.
Chaïb is the only one of those three still alive. Noureddine Abouallal (a.k.a. Abou Mujahid) died last summer while fighting in Syria, and Feisal Yamoun (a.k.a. Abu Faris) was killed there last week. According to the Belgian newspaper ‘Het Nieuwsblad‘, security services considered the latter far more important in Shariah4Belgium than public face Belkacem, especially for the recruitement of Syria fighters.
Where the picture of De Mulder and Chaïb was taken — and whether they have fought on the side of Abouallal and Yamoun — isn’t clear. “On the lookout for the sake of Allah’, is the only comment. De Mulder has long been active on Facebook under the alias ‘Abu Qasem Brazili’, but a few weeks ago his account disappeared. It isn’t clear whether De Mulder still communicates with extremists in Belgium, but judging by the 50+ likes his new picture got in about an hour, his popularity there has only increased.