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Jordan bomber long aspired for jihad

The Jordanian doctor who killed seven CIA agents in Afghanistan had spent long hours on his laptop spreading the word of jihad, but was growing impatient with not acting on what he had preached, relatives said.

Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi, 33, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, blogged about jihad (holy struggle) from his middle class flat in Amman, they said.

He worked at a clinic in a refugee camp on the outskirts of Zarqa, where thousands of Palestinians live in poverty, east of the Jordanian capital. The city has been a breeding ground for many radicals, including Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian al Qaeda leader killed in Iraq by U.S. forces.

Acquaintances said Balawi, known by his online name of Abu Dajana al-Khorasani, had flirted with radical Islam after returning home with a medicine degree from Turkey in 2002, when he began poetic and passionate writings on jihadi websites.

His recent writings before he headed to Afghanistan last year showed a growing impatience with not acting on his beliefs.

"When will my words drink from my blood..I feel my words have expired, and to those who preach jihad, I advise you not to fall into my dilemma and the nightmare I have that I may die one day in my bed... ," he said in a recent web posting.

Balawi is believed to have carried out the Dec 30. bombing at a military base in Afghanistan killing seven CIA officers and contractors, the second most deadly in the agency's history.


Former intelligence officials have said Balawi was recruited by Jordanian intelligence to try to infiltrate al Qaeda and the Taliban. Balawi had associated with Islamists in the past, but U.S. and Jordanian spy agencies believed he had been successfully "de-radicalized."

Al Qaeda's Afghan wing has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, saying it was revenge for the deaths of their leaders.

Friends and relatives said Balawi's radicalization was molded by outrage over the image of Islam under attack and what he saw as Israeli brutality against the Palestinians.

"I never wanted to be in Gaza more than now or to become a suicide bomber who would drive a taxi that would take as many Jews to hell as I can," Balawi said in a recent web message.

He began to idolize al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

"Humam was deeply influenced by bin Laden, whom he revered as a man who symbolized the true jihadist in his quest to fight infidels and Western injustice," said Khaleq Salem, who had known Balawi since early childhood.

"May God take revenge on those responsible for turning this humane doctor to an agent. But I am proud of him and may his soul rest in peace as a true martyr," Khalil Balawi, his father said after noon prayers from his Nuzha district in Amman.

A Pakistani television station released a video on Saturday of Balawi saying he had turned down offers of millions of dollars from the United States and Jordan who wanted him to spy on militant groups.

Relatives blame the Jordanians for coercing him to become a mole during frequent interrogations, saying they were attracted to his sharp intellect and well rounded personality.

Balawi appears to have been at the center of a complex espionage operation that points to huge intelligence failures for the U.S. and its key Middle East ally that backfired, security analysts said.

Source: Reuters

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