Mamdouh Mahmud Salim

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Mamdouh Mahmud Salim
ممدوح محمود سالم
Mamdouh Mahmud Salim.jpg
Born 1958 (1958)
Other names Abu Hajer al-Iraqi[1]
أبو هاجر العراقي
Criminal charge Terrorism
Criminal status Life without parole
Conviction(s) Attempted murder

Mamdouh Mahmud Salim (Arabic: ممدوح محمود سالم‎, Mamdūḥ Maḥmūd Sālim; b. 1958 in Sudan) is a Sudanese alleged co-founder of the Islamist terrorist network al-Qaeda. He was arrested on 16 September 1998 near Munich.[2] On 20 December 1998 he was extradited to the United States, where he was charged[3] with participating in the 1998 United States embassy bombings.

Since then he has been convicted of attempted murder, after stabbing one prison guard during an attempted escape. He was sentenced to 32 years for the crimes.[4][5] In 2008, however, a Federal Appeals judge ruled that the judge in the case was in error when he ruled that the stabbing was not part of a terrorism plot. He ordered resentencing.[6]

He was re-sentenced to life without parole in August 2010.[7] He is now an inmate of the ADX Florence facility in Florence, Colorado ( 42426-054).

Founding al-Qaeda in 1988[edit]

Salim was trained as a communications engineer.[8] He attended two meetings from August 11–20 in 1988, along with Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mohammed Atef, Jamal al-Fadl, Wael Hamza Julaidan, and Mohammed Loay Bayazid and eight others, to discuss the founding of "al-Qaeda".[9][10]

According to Jamal al-Fadl, Salim instructed militant recruits in the works of Ibn Taymiyyah.[11] Other allegations suggest he travelled to China, Japan or Hong Kong with Mohammed Loay Bayazid in 1990 to facilitate the purchase of communications equipment for the Sudanese government.[12] In Khartoum, he travelled to Hilat Koko with Jamal al-Fadl in late 1993 or early 1994, and met with Amin Abdel Marouf to discuss chemical weapons.[11]

He is also credited by al-Fadl's testimony with a 1992 fatwa issued at the request of Al Qaeda leadership,[8] described as pivotal in Al-Qaeda's development as it provided the group with justification for the killing of Muslim civilians and bystanders in the course of killing Americans and other non-Muslim enemies.[8][13] The fatwa is putatively based on one by the influential 14th century Salafi scholar Ibn Taymiyyah ("Ibn al Tamiyeh") permitting the killing of Muslim supporters of the "Tartars" (Mongols) who threatened to invade the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt.[8][13] In testimony al-Fadl was asked:

Q. Can you tell us now what Abu Hajer al Iraqi said about Ibn al Tamiyeh?
A. He said that our time now is similar like in that time, and he say Ibn al Tamiyeh, when a tartar come to Arabic war, Arabic countries that time, he say some Muslims, they help them. And he says Ibn al Tamiyeh, he make a fatwah. He said anybody around the tartar, he buy something from them and he sell them something, you should kill him. And also, if when you attack the tartar, if anybody around them, anything, or he's not military or that -- if you kill him, you don't have to worry about that. If he's a good person, he go to paradise and if he's a bad person, he go to hell.[14][8]

He was arrested approximately September 8, 1998 in Germany, and extradited to the United States. However, his joint bank account with Mamoun Darkanzali was not investigated, and the latter transferred the funds to a militant who would later participate in the 9/11 hijackings.[11]

Indictment for the embassy bombings[edit]

Salim's name occurs frequently in 157-page indictment, sometimes alongside the name of Osama bin Laden and no one else. According to the indictment

  • he was a member of the majlis al shura of al-Qaeda
  • he managed al-Qaeda training camps and guesthouses in Afghanistan and Pakistan
  • he purchased land for training camps
  • he purchased warehouses for storage of items including explosives, and purchased communications and electronics equipment
  • he transferred funds between corporate accounts
  • he transported money and weapons to members of al-Qaeda and associated terrorist organizations
  • he traveled, on behalf of al Qaeda and its affiliated groups, to Malaysia, China, the Philippines, and Germany
  • he worked with Wadih el-Hage in various of bin Laden's companies
  • he helped to obtain communications equipment for the Sudanese intelligence service
  • he made efforts [in 1993] to obtain the components of nuclear weapons
  • in September 1998, he lied to German and American law enforcement regarding al-Qaeda, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and the embassy bombings
  • in 2000, while under arrest by American civil authorities, he participated in the capture and assault of a prison guard (who was seriously and permanently injured) and tried to take other hostages
  • several times around 1992 and again around 1996, he "met with an Iranian religious official in Khartoum as part of an overall effort to arrange a tripartite agreement between al Qaeda, the National Islamic Front of Sudan, and elements of the Government of Iran to work together against the United States, Israel and other Western countries".


  1. ^ Fitzgerald, Patrick J. United States of America v. Enaam M. Arnaout, "Governments Evidentiary Proffer Supporting the Admissibility of Co-Conspirator Statements", before Hon. Suzanne B. Conlon
  2. ^ Complete report of the 9-11 Commission (large PDF file)
  3. ^ Copy of indictment USA v. Usama bin Laden et al., Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies
  4. ^ Williams, Paul L., "Al Qaeda: Brotherhood of Terror", 2002
  5. ^ Bin Laden aide sentenced to 32 years in prison for jail stabbing, CNN, 4 March 2004
  6. ^ Benjamin Weiser (2008-12-02). "Panel Rules Jail Stabbing Constituted Terrorism". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-04.  mirror
  7. ^ "Ex-bin Laden aide gets life for prison stabbing". USA Today. 2010-08-31. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Kadri, Sadakat (2012). Heaven on Earth: A Journey Through Shari'a Law from the Deserts of Ancient Arabia ... macmillan. pp. 171–2. ISBN 9780099523277. 
  9. ^ Wright, Lawrence. "The Looming Tower", 2006. p. 131-134
  10. ^ Indictment of Enaam Arnaout in 2002, archived at the United States Department of Justice
  11. ^ a b c Benjamin, Daniel & Steven Simon. "The Age of Sacred Terror", 2002
  12. ^ Federal Bureau of Investigation, Interview of anonymous source, May 15, 1998
  13. ^ a b Wright, Lawrence (2006). Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. NY: Knopf. pp. 174–5. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  14. ^ "UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. USAMA BIN LADEN, et al., Day 2 of the trial.". Natsios Young Architects. Digital file from the Court Reporters Office, Southern District of New York. February 6, 2001. Retrieved 3 October 2015.