FBI Uncovers Terror Training Camp in Alabama

May 12, 2019 Updated: May 12, 2019

FBI investigators have found a training compound in Alabama linked to a group of suspected homegrown terrorists.

An FBI search warrant described the property in Macon County, Alabama, as a “makeshift military-style obstacle course,” according to a report by the Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Identified in reports as a “homegrown Islamic terror compound,” it allegedly belongs to a group led by 40-year-old Siraj Wahhaj, an imam indicted on federal charges related to firearms violations and terrorism.

Terror Charges

Wahhaj and four other suspects, Jany Leveille, 36, Hujrah Wahhaj, 38, Subhanah Wahhaj, 36, and Lucas Morton, 41, face a range of firearms and terrorism-related charges amid accusations they conspired to support planned attacks on U.S. law enforcement officers and other government employees.

Jany Leveille, Lucas Morton, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Subbannah Wahhaj
Defendants, from (L), Jany Leveille, Lucas Morton, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, and Subbannah Wahhaj entering district court in Taos, N.M., on Aug. 13, 2018. (Roberto E. Rosales/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)

Federal prosecutors commented in March about the charges against Wahhaj and others in a new indictment that brought fresh terror-related allegations.

“The superseding indictment alleges a conspiracy to stage deadly attacks on American soil,” U.S. Attorney John Anderson said in a written statement. “These allegations remind us of the dangers of terrorism that continue to confront our nation.”

Charging documents allege Wahhaj and others were conducting weapons training with assault rifles at a ramshackle compound in New Mexico, where children were being trained to commit school shootings.

“He poses a great danger to the children found on the property as well as a threat to the community as a whole due to the presence of firearms and his intent to use these firearms in a violent and illegal manner,” prosecutor Timothy Hasson wrote in court documents.

The New Mexico compound, located on the outskirts of Amalia, a tiny town near the Colorado border, is reportedly similar to the one FBI agents found in Alabama.

The two men and three women living at the compound raided in August were arraigned on March 21, 2019, on new charges of supporting plans for violent attacks. (Morgan Lee/AP Photo)

In an interview with Sinclair, former FBI agent Tim Fuhrman warned of the increasing threat of domestic terror that “exists in every region of the United States and affects all walks of life.”

“Just because you’re in a small town or a small state does not mean you might not potentially have individuals engaged in the types of activities that would call into question threats to national security,” Fuhrman told the outlet.

The FBI is currently pursuing 850 domestic terrorism investigations, Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Michael McGarrity said May 8 while speaking to the House Homeland Security Committee, according to CNN.

“The FBI assesses domestic terrorists collectively pose a persistent and evolving threat of violence and economic harm to the United States,” McGarrity said.

The FBI encourages citizens to protect themselves against terrorism by remaining aware of their surroundings, refraining from oversharing personal information, and reporting suspicious activity.

Missing 3-Year-Old’s Death

The remains of 3-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj were found at the New Mexico compound, where authorities found 11 malnourished children, guns and ammunition, and a firing range.

The search of the compound was sparked by an investigation into the whereabouts of the missing 3-year-old, who was Siraj Wahhaj’s son and had suffered seizures.

Prosecutor John Lovelace said the boy died during “a religious ritual” intended to “cast out demonic spirits,” Reuters reported.

The boy stopped breathing and soon died during a ceremony, prosecutors said. Wahhaj had placed his hand on the boy’s head and was reciting verses from the Quran just before the boy began suffering seizures and foaming at the mouth. He was soon dead.

Wahhaj’s 15-year-old son recounted to officials that one of the adults told him the spirit of the dead boy would return as “Jesus” to direct the group on where to carry out the violent attacks they were allegedly training for.

Prosecutors said Jany Leveille, Wahhaj’s wife, led the group and was the one who spread the belief that the boy would be reincarnated to attack banks, schools, and government agencies, USA Today reported, citing an FBI agent’s testimony.

“Jany had a message from God that they needed to leave and head to New Mexico and that Abdul Wahhaj, once the demons were expelled from his body through religious rituals, that he would become Jesus and once he became Jesus, he would instruct the others on the property, the family, what corrupt institutions to get rid of,” FBI agent Travis Taylor, who interviewed two of the oldest children, testified.

Kidnapping charges were brought against Leveille, Hujrah Wahhaj, Subhana Wahhaj, and Lucas Morton in connection with the child’s abduction and subsequent death.

They potentially could have faced the death penalty if convicted of abducting the child because authorities said it resulted in the boy dying.

Prosecutors said in a filing ahead of a court hearing in April that they wouldn’t seek capital punishment against the four suspects.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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