Yazid Sufaat

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Yazid Sufaat (born 20 January 1964)—also known as Yazud bin Sufaat or Yazid Shufaat—is a Malaysian member of the extremist Islamist terrorist organisation Jemaah Islamiyah from shortly after its foundation in 1993 until his arrest by Malaysian authorities in 2001.[1] His specialty had been to develop anthrax as a weapon of bio-terrorism on behalf of the terror group al-Qaeda. Released in 2008, he was again detained on terrorist charges in Malaysia in 2013.


Early life[edit]

Sufaat was born in Johor, Malaysia in 1964. In 1987, he graduated from the California State University, Sacramento with a degree in biochemistry.[2] He then served in the Malaysian army as a medical technician, rising to the rank of Captain.[1]

Terrorist career[edit]

Sufaat is now believed to be one of al-Qaeda's main anthrax researchers.[2][3][4][5] In 1993 Sufaat set up a pathology laboratory called Green Laboratory Medicine, at which he subsequently tried to weaponise anthrax on behalf of al-Qaeda.[1] From 5 to 8 January 2000, a major meeting of al-Qaeda and JI personnel was held in Kuala Lumpur[6] (see 2000 Kuala Lumpur al-Qaeda Summit); four of those who attended stayed with Sufaat at his home.[7] He is also suspected of providing employment documents to Zacarias Moussaoui, and providing lodging for two of the 11 September hijackers, namely Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi.[7]

From the 9/11 Commission report:[7]

The al-Qaeda-JI partnership yielded a number of proposals that would marry al-Qaeda's financial and technical strengths with JI's access to materials and local operatives. Here, Hambali played the critical role of coordinator, as he distributed al-Qaeda funds earmarked for joint operations. In one especially notable example, Atef turned to Hambali when al-Qaeda needed a scientist to take over its biological weapons program. Hambali obliged by introducing a U.S.-educated JI member, Yazid Sufaat, to Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kandahar. In 2001, Sufaat would spend several months attempting to cultivate anthrax for al-Qaeda in a laboratory he helped set up near the Kandahar airport.

Sufaat, through his company Green Laboratory Medicine, acquired four tonnes of ammonium nitrate for JI/MILF bomb-maker Fathur Rahman al-Ghozi.[8] The intended bombing spree in Singapore (see Singapore embassies attack plot) was averted by the arrests in Singapore on 9 December 2001 and the capture of al-Ghozi in the Philippines the following month.

At the time of the 9/11 attacks, Sufaat was still in Afghanistan whence he fled via Pakistan to Malaysia[5] where he was soon apprehended. He is still wanted by the United States in connection with 9/11.[5]

His assets—under the name of Yazud bin Sufaat—were frozen on 5 September 2003 by the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.[9] Four days later, under the name Yazid Sufaat, he was embargoed by the United Nations Security Council Committee 1267 as an affiliate of al-Qaeda and the Taliban.[10] His expired Malaysian passport carries number A10472263. As of April 2007 he was being held in the Kamuting prison under Malaysia's Internal Security Act,[1] but he was released with no advanced notification by the Malaysian Government on 10 December 2008 with the Home Minister claiming that he was "sufficiently reformed".[11] In early 2013, Sufaat was again detained in Malaysia under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act for incitement of terrorist acts. He was to have been tried.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d Sufaat, Yazid at MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base
  2. ^ a b Reports: Al-Qaeda operative sought anthrax, CNN, 10 October 2003
  3. ^ Yazid Sufaat, GlobalSecurity.org
  4. ^ Yazid Sufaat works on anthrax for al-Qaeda, GlobalSecurity.org
  5. ^ a b c Is Al-Qaeda Making Anthrax?, CBS News, 9 October 2003
  6. ^ The Kuala Lumpur meeting, at GlobalSecurity.org
  7. ^ a b c The 9/11 Commission Report; about the summit, see page 159
  8. ^ Untangling The Web, Time, 28 January 2002
  9. ^ US Treasury announcement of 20 names added to the Specially Designated Global Terrorist list, 5 Sept 2003
  10. ^ UN list of affiliates of al-Qaeda and the Taliban
  11. ^ "Al Qaeda's anthrax scientist". Thomas Joscelyn. 12 December 2008. Retrieved 27 December 2008.  mirror
  12. ^ New Straits Times. "Detention of trio under Security Offences Act has global impact" Retrieved 11 February 2013"