July 11th, 2012
12:35 PM ET

Accused model airplane terrorist accepts plea deal

by the CNN Wire Staff

The man accused of plotting to use model airplanes loaded with explosives to attack the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol agreed Tuesday to a plea deal.

Rezwan Ferdaus, a 26-year-old from Ashland, Massachusetts, will plead guilty to two of the six charges against him and faces 17 years in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release, according to a statement from the Justice Department.

Ferdaus, a U.S. citizen, will plead guilty to attempting to damage and destroy a federal building by means of an explosive and attempting to provide material support and resources to al Qaeda for attacks on U.S. troops overseas, authorities said.

A change-of-plea hearing was scheduled for July 20 in Boston. FULL POST

Filed under: Lone wolf • Terrorism
June 27th, 2012
04:54 PM ET

Saudi student convicted in Texas bomb plot

By Terry Frieden

A 20-year-old Saudi student in Texas has been convicted by an Amarillo federal jury of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

Although Khalid Ali Aldawsari had not yet constructed a bomb or selected a target, a jury found him guilty of the WMD charge and of illegally buying chemicals on line. The jury was unanimous in its decision.

The arrest focused attention again on the danger posed by "lone-wolf" terrorists.

Prosecutors told jurors the defendant's journal showed he had intended to cause violence and that he believed "it is time for jihad."  The government said Aldawsari had a target list that showed he considered trying to blow up hydroelectric dams and nuclear power plants. His list also included the Dallas home of former president George W. Bush. FULL POST

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Filed under: Living With Terror • Lone wolf • Terrorism
In France, a new type of lone wolf threat
April 9th, 2012
06:21 PM ET

In France, a new type of lone wolf threat

Editor's note: Raffaello Pantucci is an associate fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR) and the author of the forthcoming "We Love Death As You Love Life: Britain's Suburban Mujahedeen" (Hurst/Columbia University Press).

Analysis from Raffaello Pantucci, Special to CNN

Mohammed Merah's death has done little to clarify what motivated him to carry out his terrorist act.

The assassination of a series of North African French soldiers, followed by the cold-blooded shooting of Jewish children as they went to school, all show evidence of a mind twisted by hate that was motivated by Islamist ideas:  The soldiers had the audacity to be members of an army fighting against Islam while the children had the misfortune of being born into the wrong religious family. FULL POST

Filed under: Al Qaeda • Living With Terror • Lone wolf • Terrorism
A classic case of self-radicalizing
February 28th, 2012
01:00 AM ET

A classic case of self-radicalizing

Zachary Chesser is barely legal. At the age of 21, the self-confessed terrorist was sentenced to a 25-year prison term last year for posting radical Islamist messages online and attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization.

His online threat was aimed at the writers of "South Park." Their crime, according to the Virginia native: depicting the prophet Mohammed in a bear suit for an episode of the popular adult cartoon show.

In a new report released by the Senate Homeland Security Committee, staffers used Chesser's online writings and personal correspondence with him last year to get a better look at how the Internet influences his thinking. What they saw alarmed them. FULL POST

Lone attacker or lone wolf?
December 26th, 2011
04:00 AM ET

Lone attacker or lone wolf?

By Raffaello Pantucci, Special to CNN

EDITOR'S NOTE: Raffaello Pantucci is an Associate Fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR), and the author of a recent report "A Typology of Lone Wolves: Preliminary Analysis of Lone Islamist Terrorists".

Recently the world saw two horrendous attacks on the streets of Europe. In Italy, Gianluca Casseri opened fire with a large handgun amid crowded tourist markets in central Florence. Two days later, Nordine Amrani opened fire with machine guns and grenades in central Liege, Belgium as citizens enjoyed a Christmas market.

Coming in the wake of Anders Behring Breivik’s massacre in Oslo earlier this year and numerous arrests in the US of individuals alleged to be planning solo terrorist attacks, this seems to be the year of the Lone Attacker.

But are these individuals terrorists or are they twisted individuals who are taking their vengeance on society for their own demented reasons?

The answer is a bit of both. Clearly, it takes a damaged mind to decide to kill at random. But such actions also instil terror in the civilian population affected. However, these acts on their own do not create a terrorist – that is normally defined as the use of violence against civilians to advance a political cause. An individual who is driven by personal demons to carry out an act of mass murder is different to someone who carries out such an act under the guise of a political ideology.


Filed under: Living With Terror • Lone wolf • Terrorism