Nabil Naim co-founder of Egypt’s Al-Jihad
Co-founder of Egypt’s Al-Jihad comes up with chilling revelations
Nabil Naim: Al-Zawahari kissed my hand for saving him
Bin Laden joined the Ikhwan in their war against Syrian President Hafez Assad
ISIS mobilises Arab fighters to undertake suicidal bombing; Chechens for slayings
Al-Nusra’s warlords are mostly Egyptians
Under the regime of the Ikhwan, Hazemoun movement sent 1500 fighters to Syria
Wonderful relationship I have with Lebanon’s Hezbollah; they trust my pledge of taking part in any new war against Israel
The biggest prize is to die in a war against Israel
Al-Jihad’s fugitives desecrated mosques by using them as hiding places
I express my deep regret for having taken part in the assassination of Sadat. He was very kind to the poor
Al-Zawahri is a weak indecisive person; it is a big lie that Bin Laden was under his sway
I was arrested after a tip-off from Al-Zawahri; but I forgave him
Bin Laden planned a nuclear attack on NY Stock Exchange before 11/9 incident; he was fooled into believing he could buy a N-bomb from the Soviet Union
Bin Laden’s tragic end moved me to tears. He was an exceptional Jihadist. Bin Laden blasted himself when the Americans closed in on him
9/11 attack was a revenge for the killing of 300, 000 women and children in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Economic sanctions imposed by the US were responsible for the catastrophic deaths of Iraqi children
The Ikhwan were mobilised to serve the interests of Israel
Nabil Naim, co-founder of Egypt’s Al-Jihad, was released from prison in 2011—only months before ex-President Hosni Mubarak had stepped down. Due to his past, Naim undoubtedly has the key of a treasure trove of secrets and breathtaking accounts of what had happened and why. The former chief Jihadist also has a vivid memory of his years-long stay in prison after he was convicted of taking part in the assassination of President Anwar Sadat.
In a five-hour interview, a journey indeed, Naim guided us through Al-Jihad’s dark labyrinths; and lifted the lid on its secrecies. For example, Naim remembered vividly that Al-Jihad was an idea flashed into the mind of Mohamed Salem Al-Rahal, a Palestinian, who was a graduate of Al-Azhar University. Naim gave Al-Rahal credit for his bid to spread the ideology of the holy war across the Arab world.
“Al-Rahal inspired his students in Palestine to establish Al-Jihad-e-Islami,” said the former Jihadist. In Egypt, Naim pointed out, enthusiasts for Al-Rahal’s ideology included Mohamed Abdel-Salam Farag, and Fathi el-Shaqaqi. It was Farag, who published the book ‘Al-Jihad.. the Missing Obligation”, in which he issued the violent fatwa that led to the assassination of President Anwar Sadat. “On the other hand, el-Shaqaqi established Al-Jihad-e-Islami in Palestine,” said Naim.
Source of inspiration
Naim came across el-Rahal in 1976 in the wake of a military coup attempted by Islamists against President Anwar Sadat. About 17 people were killed when they attacked the Military Technical Academy. Hundreds of young people were arrested and put in prison. The prison wards echoed with brainstorming discussions. “There were also heated disputes over whether the chief justice, who delivered the verdict; and the prison wardens should be condemned for being kafir,” said Naim. The disputes, he remembered, were in due course carried to the extremes. “Islamists raised the accusation of apostasy against each other,” their former colleague regretted.
Naim had to intervene to make peace. Appreciating Naim’s friendship with Al-Rahal, the adversaries assigned him to obtain a fatwa from his master Al-Rahal , whom the police did not entertain suspicions about his activities at that time. “Al-Rahal decreed that the prison wardens, regardless of being Muslims, were no better than the Mongol Tatar,” the peace-maker said. He explained that his master’s advice was inspired by a fatwa issued in the 14th century by jurisconsult Ibn Taymiyyah, in which he condemned the Tatars as apostates. “Al-Rahal also quoted Ibn Taymiyyah’s fatwa in his book the Missing Obligation,” said Naim.
Al-Rahal was arrested in 1979 for attempting to organize the militant group Al-Jihad. Naim had a new a role to play. He urged the Ikhwan-linked lawyer Mukhtar Nuh to help arrange a meeting with a senior police officer in the State Security Investigation (now the National Security Agency) to see whether he could get Al-Rahal released from detention. The police officer was no one other than Lt. Gen. Hassan Abu-Pasha.
Naim said: “I wanted Lt. Gen. Abu-Pasha to help release Al-Rahal.” The former Jihadist said: To his surprise, he discovered that Abu-Pasha had no plans to interrogate Al-Rahal. “I was reassured that Al-Rahal would soon be extradited to his village in Palestine, otherwise he would brainwash his interrogators,” Naim said. According to Naim, Al-Rahal was an articulate speaker, who possessed powers of persuasion.
Al-Jihad was disbanded in 1977 in the wake of the arrest of Takfeer-wa-Hijra, a militant organization, which called for atonement and emigration. The decision was taken by Mostafa Yussri, the emir of Saleh Seriyya Group from 1977 to 1980. “Yussri was deeply worried that the arrest of Takfeer-wa-Hijra would have ramifications for Al-Jihad,” Naim said.
As a result, Al-Jihad splintered into two powerful groups after two of its members, Ayman el-Zawahri and Mohamed Abdel-Salam Farag, rejected Yussri’s decision. Al-Zawahri and Farag managed to recruit army officers, who included Essam el-Kamari and Abdel-Aziz el-Gamal.
According to Naim’s account in his interview, communal violence, which took place in Cairo’s northern district of Zawiya Hamra in 1981, prompted Al-Jihad’s offshoots to retaliate by launching a series of terrorist attacks on Coptic targets. Al-Zawahri’s group, continued Naim, attacked a wedding party held in a church. “On the other hand, Farag’s group decided to attack jewelry shops owned by Copts,” he said.
After purchasing an automatic rifle, Farag’s militants requested Al-Zawahri’s help to provide the ammunition stored in a house Naim rented in Qaliubiya governorate to the north of Cairo in the Nile Delta. Naim advised Al-Zawahri to keep away, otherwise he would be embroiled in an armed robbery. Naim remembered Al-Zawahri kissing his hand when they met in prison. “Al-Zawahri kissed my hand, confirming to me that without my advice he, like Farag’s militants, would have faced charges of armed robbery,” Naim said.
Ikhwan & Al-Jihad
In his interview, Naim categorically denied allegations that Al-Jihad was depending—secretly nonetheless—on financial help from the Ikhwan. The Ikhwan was known for adopting the strategy of ‘One Hand Kills, and the Other Hand Denounces’. But Naim has a different story to tell in this respect. He attributed this baseless claim to an appeal made by Salah Serriya for help from the Ikhwanto topple President Anwar Sadat. Serriya, himself a member of the Ikhwan, made his appeal in 1974 to Ms. Zeinab el-Ghazali, who was one of the the organisation’s powerful women. “El-Ghazali refused to answer Serriya’s appeal even after he confirmed to her that the Ikhwan would take over when Sadat was ousted from power,” Naim said.
“The incontestable fact is that the water between the Ikhwan and Al-Jihad was not clear,” Naim said. He elaborated that Al-Jihad ridiculed the Ikhwan for allowing Sadat to mobilise them against his Nasseriste rivals.
“Nor did in its infancy, Al-Jihad received any kind of financial help from abroad,” Naim said. The former Jihadist asserted that Egypt’s Al-Jihad considered jewelry shops owned by Copts as its goldmine. He substantiated his point by noting that being a local group, Al-Jihad in its infancy did not attract the attention of any foreign intelligence agency. He compared Al-Jihad in its beginning to ‘a union of students’.
In his interview, Naim testified that Al-Qaeda’s leader Ayman Al-Zawahri did not pay allegiance to the Ikhwan’s General Guide. Naim’s testimony is based on a 20-year relationship with Ayman Al-Zawahri. “Moreover, I had lived in Al-Zawahri’s residence for more than three years,” said the former Jihadist. Naim remembered asking his host whether he had taken oath of allegiance to the Ikhwan. “Never” was Al-Zawahri’s crushing answer. “Nor had Al-Zawahri’s predecessor Osama Bin Laden ever showed devotion to the Ikhwan,” Naim noted.
In a video, Al-Zawahri confessed that his predecessor had taken oath of allegiance to the Ikhwan. Al-Zawahri had also said that the Ikhwan disowned Bin Laden because he ignored their order after accomplishing a task in Lahore, Pakistan. “Bin Laden was fired when he ignored the orders he was given, and travelled to Afghanistan,” Naim said.
Naim said that it is probable that an overlapping relationship between Ikhwan and Al-Jihad found ground during a war launched by late Syrian President Hafez Assad in 1982 against the Ikhwan in his country. “We spent three years raising money for Syria’s Ikhwan,” Naim said. In addition to 100 million Saudi riyals collected from mosques, the harvest included 100 (4x4) vehicles for Jordan’s Ikhwan, who were prepared to invade Syria. “Al-Zawahri condemned the Ikhwan after discovering their insincerity,” Naim confirmed.
It was Omar Abdel-Hakim, nicknamed Abu-Mosaab Al-Souri, who disclosed to Naim the undercover relationship between the Ikhwan and Syrian Jihadists, who were active under the banner Talae’ie Al-Fatah. Syria-based Jihadists were said to have no trust in the Ikhwan. Naim said.
However, a massacre the Ikhwan committed against the Alawite fighter pilots in the 1980s of the last century, encouraged Abu-Mousab to seek help from the Ikhwan to fight Hafez Assad. Naim explained that the Ikhwan agreed to help on condition that Abu-Mousaab should fold the banner of Tala’ie Al-Fatah and tuck his head under their cloak. “Therefore, Abu-Mousaab’s group was named Tala’ie Al-Ikhwan,” Naim said.
The name of Khaled Mousaed, the founder of the defunct Tawhee wa Jihad in Sinai, leapt to Naim’s mind during the interview. Tawheed wa Jihad was responsible for the bombings of hotels in Taba in 2004, Sharm El-Sheikh in 2004 and Dahab in 2006. About 2000 suspects were arrested. The irony, Naim noted, half of these suspects confessed they were not devout Muslims. “Nonetheless, dumped in prison, these suspects came across elements belonging to Al-Nagoon-min-al-Nar, who launched three assassination attempts,” said Naim. “These elements included Helmi Hashem, who became the Mufti of ISIS,” he noted.
Crammed into the same jail, Tawheed wa Jihad’s criminals imbibed the takferi ideas of Al-Nagoon-min-al-Nar. “The outbreak of January revolution in 2011 offered these takferiyeen the opportunity to get over the prison walls,” Naim said. “They were received by Ansar Beitul-Maqdes in Gaza,” he added. After the Ikhwan assumed power in Egypt, Khairat el-Shatter, a powerful member, encouraged these fugitives to reinforce the organisation’s armed militias.
Distribution of task assignments
According to explanation made by Naim in his interview, nationality would qualify ISIS fighters to perform a specific task. “For example, Arab fighters are the suicidal bombers,” he said, noting that neither the Americans nor the Europeans would be asked to perform these deadly tasks. “In the meantime, Chechens, who are savage fighters, are responsible for slayings,” he said. “They are called the slayers,” he noted. “Russian troops in Syria had killed 2500 Chechen fighters,” Naim said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered that fighters should not by any means be repatriated to Chechnya.
Naim disclosed that the majority of Al-Nusra’s fighters in Syria are Egyptians. The mass departure of Egyptians came after ex-President Mohamed Morsi organized a conference in 2013 to support Syrian people in their war against President Bashar Assad.
“About 1500 Egyptians loyal to Hazemoun movement had travelled to Syria to join Al-Nusra,” the former Jihadist said. He indicated that Abdel-Aziz el-Gamal, an Egyptian fighter in Syria, was by all means seeking to serve Israel by exhorting the Syrian opposition fighters to destroy their country.
The co-founder of Al-Jihad takes pride in his wonderful relationship with Hezbollah resistance movement in Lebanon. Before he co-established Al-Jihad, Naim joined training camps run by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation. The outbreak of a brutal civil war in Lebanon in 1977 prompted him to travel to this Arab country. Expressing his admiration for Hezbollah’s ethics of war, Naim said: “We were advised that after killing the enemy we should not search his pocket if it were bulging with millions of pounds.” The reason was that resistance fighters should not be accused of theft. Naim has pledged to Hezbollah’s colleagues that they should expect him among us if Israel launched a new war on Lebanon. “They are reassured that my dream is to die while fighting the Israelis,” he said.
According to Naim, Al-Jihad’s fighters, who fled the police crackdown, desecrated in mosques. He said: “Places of worship, which were controlled by Al-Jihad, used to act hiding places.” One of these fugitives was Al-Jihad’s co-founder Mohamed Abdel-Salam, who went into hiding in Omar ibn Abdel-Aziz Mosque. “The security authorities under the regime of Sadat in 1981 were hunting for Abdel-Salam,” Naim said. “He disappeared in this mosque,” he added. “Places of worship, used as hiding places, included Sayed Aisha Msoque in Cairo’s northern district of Al-Dhaher; and Fatma Al-Zahra Mosque also in northern Cairo,” said Naim.
The former Jihadist remembered that he had escorted army officer Essam el-Qamari to hide in Sayed Aisha Mosque after an exchange of gunfire with the security authorities in the Mokkatam Hill in southern-eastern Cairo. The two fugitives filled a pot with kerosene and disassemble their guns in it. Naim disclosed that different mosques were used as depots. “We used to hide guns and pistols under the pulpit,” he said.
Assassination of Sadat
The assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981 represented a crucial stage in Al-Jihad’s history. Naim said that the assassination of Sadat was carefully planned by army officer Khaled el-Islamboli. The assassins planned to gun down the President during a military parade marking the October victory in 1981. “Khaled el-Islamboli smuggled the assassins to the parade ground to have the opportunity to shoot Sadat at close range,” Naim said.
Naim confessed that the Ikhwan’s baseless allegations and false stories about the prison conditions and torture sessions under the regime of President Gamal Abdel-Nasser in the 1950s and the 1960s prompted Al-Jihad to kill his successor Anwar Sadat. “Fears haunted Al-Jihad’s fighters that under Sadat, they would be tortured in jail until they met their tragic end,” Naim noted. However, these panic-stricken fighters realized the enormity of injustice Ikhwan had done to Sadat when they met the alleged victims of torture. “These alleged victims raised their eyebrows with disbelief when they were asked about the cruelty of the prison wardens,” Naim said.
Before the tragic incident during the military parade on October 6 in 1981, Sadat miraculously survived an assassination attempt during his visit to the city of Mansoura to open a fertilizer factory. Naim said: “This assassination attempt was planned by Col. Aboud el-Zomour of the Egyptian military intelligence.” Informed that Sadat would travel to Mansoura by train, el-Zomour hid about 1000kg of explosives inside large-size pipelines running under the railway lines. Together with his accomplices, el-Zomour posed himself as a worker belonging to the provincial electricity company. To his disappointment, el-Zomour was informed that Sadat had flown to Mansour by helicopter.
Naim expressed deep regret for having taking part in the assassination of Sadat. “Sadat was so kind to the poor that he issued a decree that entitled them to social pension named after him,” Naim said.
In addition to his witty and evasive answers to questions given by his interrogators, the former Jihadist was acquitted on all criminal charges. He also won the confidence of the security authorities when he tipped them off to the whereabouts of Sadat’s assassins, who were on the run.
In his interview, Naim ridiculed Al-Qaeda’s leader Ayman Al-Zawahri for being a weak and indecisive person. “Al-Zawahri is manipulated by others,,” Naim said. Without a tipoff they received from Al-Zawahri, the police would not have laid their hands on Naim. “But I forgave him,” Naim declared.
In his chilling revelations, the former Jihadist said that the 9/11 was the inevitable alternative to a nuclear attack Bin Laden had planned before to destroy the NY Stock Exchange. According to this breathtaking story, the fall of the Soviet Union attracted Bin Laden’s attention to the possibility of purchasing a nuclear bomb to drop it on the building. He contacted a Pakistani and Russian generals, who confirmed to him that they could deliver the nuclear package. The two generals recommended that Bin Laden would accomplish his deadly task against the Americans if he purchased a splinter bomb contacting 2-5kg of uranium.
Naim said: “Bin Laden promised a US$20m palm-greasing to the two generals for their cooperation.” Al-Qaeda’s leader also managed to broker a US$10m deal with drug merchants, who agreed to smuggle the destructive parcel into the US.
Bin Laden was disappointed after discovering that the two generals were swindlers. The parcel Bin Laden received did not contain the nuclear gift. Naim said that a US25, 000 radiation detector Bin Laden imported from Japan revealed that the metal boy laid elegantly in the parcel was a Stinger missile!
The prototype of 9/11 attack was an unsuccessful attempt to launch an airstrike on the Israeli embassy in Cairo. Naim said: “the idea occurred to us when we were in Afghanistan. A colleague suggested that we could deal Israel a dazzling blow if we used a spray plane loaded with explosives to destroy its embassy in Cairo.” He added: “We approached an Egyptian fighter pilot to help accomplish this suicidal task. Unfortunately, he disclosed the operation to a friend, who tipped off the Egyptian security authorities.”
Naim was moved to tears when the name of Bin Laden leapt into his mind during the interview. Defending the integrity and sincerity of Al-Qaeda’s founder, Naim said that Bin Laden had sterling qualities. “Bin Laden was an exceptional Jihadist,” said Naim. “It was Bin Laden, who killed Afghani leader Ahmed Shah Masoud. “During my holy journeys to Saudi Arabia to perform Umra (lesser pilgrimage), Bin Laden would invite me to stay in his residence in Al-Aziziya district,” Naim said. “I was also one of his escorts in Sudan and Afghanistan,” he added. According to Naim, Bin Laden’s security guards were Yemenis and Saudis, whom he trusted more than any other nationalities.
In his interview, Naim ridiculed the story that Al-Qaeda’s founder was killed by the Americans. Quoting Bin Laden’s Egyptian brother-in-law, Naim said: “Al-Qaeda’s leader used to wear an explosive belt. When the Americans stormed his home and closed in on him, detonated the belt to celebrate martyrdom.”
Invasion of Manhattan
Khaled Sheikh Mohamed, who was one of the architects of 9/11 incident, found it appealing to use aircraft to attack high-rises in the US. He discussed with Bin Laden the possibility of hijacking a number of passenger planes and ramming into strategic buildings in the US, such as the Twin Towers in NY and the Pentagon. “We wanted to compel the US administration to give in to our demands,” Naim said. The 9/11 attack, he continued, was also a revenge for the killing of more than 600, 000 Iraqi children as a result of economic sanctions.
About 200 Jihadists belonging to different nationalities volunteered to accomplish this task. Egyptian Mohamed Atta was one of the hijackers selected by Bin Laden to carry out such an appalling attack. According to Naim, it was a civil engineer, who explained that the upper part of the NY towers was the weakest point and its destruction would rock the whole building violently before it would fall apart.
Although Naim condemned the killing of innocent civilians under any circumstances, he defended the 9/11 attack for being a legitimate revenge for the killing of Iraqi children. “The Americans had also dropped two nuclear bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing more than 300, 000 women and children,” he said.
In addition to the great deal of damage caused to the image of Islam in the West, the 9/11 attack prompted the US to unleash a destructive war on several Muslim and Arab countries. Naim argued that pro-Israel US policy would always persuade terrorists that their acts are legitimate.
Ikhwan and their bitter harvest
The former Jihadist launched a vicious criticism on the Ikhwan. He said this terrorist group had committed criminal and political crimes only to serve Israel’s interests in the region. He quoted renowned Egyptian thinker and philosopher Mahmoud Abbas el-Akkad (1889-1964) as saying that the Ikhwan would help reinforce the Zionist project in Palestine. El-Akkad came up with his serious warning in this respect in an article he contributed to Al-Assas magazine. Naim said: “Al-Akkad sent this warning to Hassan el-Bana, the founder of the Ikhwan.”
Nonetheless, Naim refused to condemn members of the Ikhwan for being kafir. He also refused to help Al-Zawahri publish his book “The Bitter Harvest”, in which he branded the Ikhwan as apostates.
Naim expressed his worries that modern technology has made it much easier for Al-Jihad’s preachers and emirs to successfully contact larger number of young people. “Several websites are now explaining steps teaching young people how to manufacture grenades at home,” he said.
Nonetheless, he confirmed that the security authorities would do their homework properly if they managed to persuade agents they planted in militant groups to arrange an early warning system. Elaborating, he said: “It is better for an agent to sound the alarming bell before—not after—the militants would hit.”
Still alive in jail
In his interview, the former Jihadist smiled when he remembered what happened during a torture session he underwent in a prison controlled by the State Security Investigation downtown. “Unable to endure the torture, I collapsed. Rumours spread in the place that I died. Detained Jihadists performed absentee funeral prayer for me.”
His family was alerted to his death when a local opposition newspaper (Al-Shaab) published what had happened to him at the hands of SSI’s officers. His family faxed a message to Dr. Zakaria Azmi, Director of the Office of ex-President Hosni Mubarak.
“Dr. Azmi contacted the SSI’s chief and urged clarification,” Naim said. Moreover, the ex-President sent an envoy to visit Naim in his jail. “Since then,” he said, “no one had ever touched me until I was released in the wake of January 25 Revolution.” Naim was set free after spending four months in detention, which included 40 days of interminable torturing.