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Terrorism & Security

Fort Hood shooter, Virginia mosque links probed

Investigators are looking into links between suspected Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan and a Virginia mosque that was visited by a radical prayer leader and two of the 9/11 hijackers.

By Jonathan Adams / November 9, 2009

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The probe into suspected Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan took another turn early Monday, as an official said that investigators were now looking into Hasan's connection with a Virginia mosque visited by two of the 9/11 attackers.

Hasan, a military psychiatrist tasked with counseling US personnel returning from war, is accused of killing 13 soldiers and wounding 29 more in Fort Hood, Texas last Thursday. Survivors said he yelled "Allahu Akhbar" ("God is great") before opening fire.

Since that massacre, military officials are probing Hasan's possible motive. He was reportedly disturbed over an impending deployment to Afghanistan. Hasan, 39, is the only suspect in the shootings, but has not yet been charged.

The British Telegraph first reported the link between Hasan and the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Great Falls, Virginia. The mosque was attended by two hijackers who carried out the September 11, 2001 attacks and its prayer leader at the time was Anwar al-Awlaki, who the Telegraph said was accused of supporting attacks on British troops and backing terrorist organizations.

Al-Awlaki moved to Dar al-Hijrah as imam in January 2001 from the west coast and three months later the September 11 hijackers Nawaf al-Hamzi and Hani Hanjour began attending his services. A third hijacker attended his services in California.
Hasan was praying at Dar al-Hijrah at about the same time and the FBI will now want to investigate whether he met the two terrorists.

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that an unnamed law enforcement official confirmed that the FBI and Army were investigating links between Hasan and the mosque.

[A]uthorities are still scouring "voluminous" hard drives, multiple e-mail accounts and website trails "to see what's out there, and to see what it all means," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. "There's a lot of work being done." ...
The mosque is one of the biggest in the United States, and the official cautioned that thousands of people go there for prayer services and other events.

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