A profile of Moroccan jihadist Karim Mejjati, from the Washington Post, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — In the post-Sept. 11 world, Karim Mejjati was the perfect undercover al Qaeda operative. The former medical student from Morocco could speak several languages, had many passports and excelled at building bombs. He was also good at avoiding attention as he crisscrossed four continents to organize a wave of catastrophic attacks.
What’s that? A medical student who could speak several languages? But…but…isn’t poverty and ignorance supposed to cause terrorism? Karim Mejjati is just one of innumerable examples that show the bankruptcy of that all-too-common view.
On May 12, 2003, an al Qaeda network that investigators say was put together by Mejjati in Saudi Arabia blew up three residential compounds for foreign workers in Riyadh, leaving 23 dead. Less than a week later, about 3,000 miles away, suicide bombers trained by Mejjati carried out the deadliest terrorist attacks in Moroccan history, killing 45 people in Casablanca.
For the next two years, authorities in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and North America pressed a secret but intensive global manhunt for the French-schooled suspect, fearing that he had set up other al Qaeda sleeper cells that had yet to be activated. Saudi Arabia put him near the top of its list of most wanted terrorism suspects. In Morocco, he was sentenced in absentia to 20 years for the Casablanca bombings. The FBI named him in a global anti-terrorism alert, warning that he was suspected of planning attacks in the United States.
According to investigators, his success in organizing terrorist networks in multiple countries is clear evidence that al Qaeda can still order devastating attacks around the world, even though most of its commanders have been killed or on the run since Sept. 11, 2001.
The search for Mejjati, 37, ended last month in a small town in the heart of Saudi Arabia when he was killed in a gun battle with security forces who stumbled on his hideout. Now, investigators trying to retrace his footsteps acknowledge that they still do not know how many more sleeper cells the well-educated explosives expert may have created.
Read it all.