In the wake of the recent Hamas terrorist attack that killed more than 1,300 Israelis, my True Crime Reporter® podcast opened its investigative archive on the Gaza-based
group's past fundraising and recruitment in the United States.
Robert RiggsAfter my embedded assignment with the U.S. Army during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, investigative producer Todd Bensman and I focused on how terrorists were using the Internet to raise money and recruit followers.
Our investigation uncovered a monthly online magazine called Alsunnah that solicited suicide bombers to attack American and coalition troops in Iraq, as well as Israelis.
We tracked the origins of the web magazine to an internet hosting company linked to three Palestinian brothers who were later convicted on federal charges of providing material support to the terrorist group Hamas.
The Internet company named Synaptix was based in Richardson, Texas, a suburb of
Dallas. Its management was intertwined with the Holy Land Foundation, which illegally
acted as a fundraising arm for Hamas in America.
The Holy Land Foundation had hidden its financial support for Hamas behind the guise
of charitable donations. The foundation and its five leaders were convicted on terrorism
charges in November of 2008, following our investigative reports from three years
They had provided approximately $12.4 million in support to Hamas and its goal of
creating an Islamic Palestinian state by eliminating the State of Israel through violent
The money was sent to Hamas groups in Gaza and the West Bank to support the
families of Hamas martyrs, detainees, and activists.
According to an FBI wiretap, a Holyland leader in New Jersey referred to a suicide
bombing as “a beautiful operation.”
It was during this time period, in 2007, that Hamas seized power in Gaza.
The government also presented evidence at the terrorism trial that several of the
convicted leaders of the Holy Land Foundation had family members who were Hamas
leaders, including Hamas’ political chief, Moussa Abu Marzouk.
Before I delve further, it's imperative to briefly jump to the present day — where the
echoes of history about Marzouk are perhaps louder than ever.

On October 10th, three days after Hamas massacred 260 people at a music festival, the Intelligence Podcast for the Economist Magazine Interviewed Marzouk at its studio in Doha, Qatar.

Marzouk expressed no remorse, refused to admit that his group planned to kill civilians, and denied that Iran was involved.
The Hamas political leader claimed their main target was fifteen military posts and that
festival goers standing in line for tickets may have coincidentally ended up in the line of fire.
Ultimately, Marzouk stressed that Hamas would never recognize the State of Israel’s
right to exist and predicted that Hamas would defeat Israel no matter how many
Palestinians have to die.
To fully appreciate the magnitude of today’s events, let us pivot back to my investigation of Hamas in 2005.
We tracked alSunnah, the online terrorist recruiting magazine distributed by the North
Texas supporters of Hamas to the Centre for Islamic Studies in Birmingham, England.
We obtained a propaganda leaflet circulated by the Centre that stated, “The youth of
Iraq have no path to take other than martyrdom operations.”
Security experts in the United Kingdom described the Alsunnah journal and its articles
justifying violence as influential among young militant Muslims in Europe, where the
Internet version on Synaptix’s Richardson, Texas servers was well-read in large
immigrant communities.
Scan to follow Riggs podcast.
I interviewed Sajjan Gohel, the Director of International Security for the London-based Asia-Pacific Foundation, a counter-terrorism think tank that researches security issues
for international businesses.
Gohel told me that two Birmingham-area suicide bombers responsible for a bloody 2002 attack on an Israeli pub were believed to have been adherents of the Centre for Islamic Studies and readers of its Alsunnah magazine.
“If you preach hatred, talk about intolerance, you are very successfully able to carry out ideas in the minds of young individuals. Not all of them will go on to become terrorists, but you don’t need all of them. You just need a handful. It only took 19 people to create 9-11.”
A year later, in January 2006, following my reports about links between the Alsunnah
Internet Magazine and the Holy Land Foundation, we made another shocking discovery.

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