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In Service of the Blind Sheikh?

7:05 PM, Sep 12, 2012 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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The group suspected to be behind the assault -- the Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades -- first surfaced in May, when it claimed responsibility for an attack on the International Red Cross office in Benghazi. The following month the group claimed responsibility for detonating an explosive device outside the U.S. Consulate, and later released a video of that attack.

It is certainly curious that there is a possible connection to the Blind Sheikh in both the Egyptian and Libyan attacks.

It is worth remembering that al Qaeda isn’t alone in calling for the Blind Sheikh’s release.

After being sworn into office in June, Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, a longtime member of the Muslim Brotherhood, promised to work for the Blind Sheikh’s release.  Also in June, a member of Rahman’s terrorist organization visited Washington in an attempt, he said, to demand the sheikh’s freedom.

We will surely learn more over time, including if there is anything more to this. At a minimum, we know that various forces have been increasingly agitating for Rahman’s release in recent months.

And there are potentially significant dots to connect: (1) Gamaa Islamiya’s planned protest on behalf Rahman, (2) Mohammed al Zawahiri’s involvement, (3) Ayman al Zawahiri’s offer on September 10 to trade an American hostage for Rahman’s release, (4) Two reports from MEMRI showing renewed calls for Rahman’s release by Salafists and jihadists in Egypt, and (5) CNN’s reporting on the Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades’ suspected involvement in Libya.

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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