Bassam Kanj

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Bassam Kanj
Born 1965
Died 2000
Citizenship American
Alternate name Abu Aisha (kunya)[1]

Bassam Kanj (1965–2000) was one of four men, along with Mohamad Elzahabi, Nabil al-Marabh and Raed Hijazi, who met each other at the Khalden training camp during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Although the four men each went their separate ways following the war, in 1998 they were all working as cab drivers in Boston, Massachusetts, the first three of them all working for the same company.[2][3]

Kanj was born in Lebanon in 1965. He first moved to the United States in 1984, marrying an American woman and becoming a naturalized citizen. He thereafter travelled to Afghanistan to fight with the mujahideen in the Soviet–Afghan War.[4] He returned to the United States in 1995, moving to Boston where he took work as a cab driver.[3]

He returned to Lebanon around 1997, where he founded a group of the radical Islamist Takfir wal-Hijra movement. He was killed by Lebanese soldiers around the new millennium in 2000, while leading up to 300 Islamists in attacks against the Lebanese Army.[1][5][6][7]


  1. ^ a b El Paso Times, "Suspected operative for al-Qaida held at center in El Paso", December 31, 2008
  2. ^ Kurkjian, Stephen. Boston Globe, "FBI probes sleeper cell possibility", June 27, 2004
  3. ^ a b Kurkjian, Stephen. Boston Globe, "Terrorism probe tracks ex-cabdrivers", February 5, 2001
  4. ^ Soufan, Ali (2011). The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 143. ISBN 9780393083477. 
  5. ^ Gambill, Gary C. (January 2000). "Syrian, Lebanese Security Forces Crush Sunni Islamist Opposition". Middle East Intelligence Bulletin. 2 (1). 
  6. ^ Rabil, R. (2011). Religion, National Identity, and Confessional Politics in Lebanon: The Challenge of Islamism. Springer. p. 192. ISBN 9780230339255. 
  7. ^ Rabil, Robert G. (2014). Salafism in Lebanon: From Apoliticism to Transnational Jihadism. Georgetown University Press. p. 167. ISBN 9781626161177.