As the result of an extensive undercover operation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States has charged two Yemeni citizens, Mohammed Ali Hasan Al-Moayad and Mohshen Yahya Zayed, with conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda and Hamas terrorists. The two are accused of acting as major financiers and recruiters for terror organizations, secretly raising millions of dollars in New York and at other locations across the U.S. The complaint alleges that Al-Moayad personally handed Osama Bin Laden twenty million dollars from his terrorist fund-raising network before the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on America.
In November 2001, the F-B-I's international terrorism squad began working with an informant who had known Al-Moayad for over some time. According to the indictment, during several meetings with the informant, Al-Moayad boasted about his involvement in providing money, recruits and supplies to al Qaeda, Hamas and other terrorist groups. He told the informant that he received money from collections at the Al Farouq mosque in Brooklyn, among other sources. Al Moayad also claimed to be the spiritual advisor of Osama Bin Laden.
In January, Mohammed Ali Hasan Al-Moayad and Mohshen Yahya Zayed flew from Yemen to Frankfurt, Germany, to meet with the F-B-I informant. According to the indictment, Al-Moayad went to the meetings intending to obtain two million dollars from a terrorist sympathizer who wanted to fund al Qaeda and Hamas. Zayed even "swore to Allah" that he [Zayed] would get the money to Al Qaeda and Hamas if anything happened to Al-Moayad.
Both Al-Moayad and Zayed have been in the custody of German authorities since January. The U.S. government is seeking their extradition.
Since the September 11th terrorist attacks, the international community has made significant progress in stopping the financing of international terrorism. One-hundred-twenty-four million dollars in assets have been frozen. Over six-hundred terrorist accounts have been blocked around the world. There have been seventy investigations into terrorist financing, with twenty-three convictions or guilty pleas entered to date.
Much more remains to be done, but, clearly, shutting off the terrorists' access to money can prevent them from carrying out more acts of terrorism. In the words of President George W. Bush, "We will starve the terrorists of funding, turn them against each other, rout them out of their safe hiding places and bring them to justice."