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Last Link in Muslim Terrorist Murder of Jewish Student in ’94 Arrested

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On May 18, 2013 @ 10:57 pm In The Point | 2 Comments

Drive from Brooklyn to Manhattan and you’re likely to pass under a green sign that reads, “Ari Halberstam Memorial Ramp” just as you get off the Brooklyn Bridge. That was where Rashid Baz opened fire on a van of Jewish students, killing 16-year-old Ari Halberstam.

Baz was treated as another of those “lone wolf” attackers, with the incident initially dismissed as road rage. But the arrests of a cigarette smuggling gang in New York City have brought in Muaffaq Askar, Baz’s so-called Palestinian Uncle and the man that Ari Halberstam’s mother had long suspected of providing him with the weapons to carry out his massacre.

Devorah Halberstam, who fought to have her son’s murder on the Brooklyn Bridge designated an act of terrorism, is enraged that an accused cigarette smuggler was still on the streets, 19 years after her 16-year-old child, Ari, was fatally shot.

“He went with Rashid Baz to the mosque, before the shooting,” Halberstam said to PIX 11 of Muaffaq Askar, one of the accused smugglers.  “Rashid Baz did not work alone!  He didn’t get the guns alone.”

Rashid Baz, a Lebanese cab driver, was the only person convicted for the March 1, 1994 shooting on the Brooklyn Bridge.  Baz admitted he used an Uzi submachine gun, a Glock, and a street sweeper to spray bullets at a white van carrying 15 yeshiva students, who had just visited a Manhattan hospital to pray for their ailing Grand Rebbe.

Ari Halberstam was immediately declared “brain dead.”  Another student, Nachum Sosonkin, suffered serious brain injuries but survived.

As the Ari Halberstam memorial site notes, Hamas released a communique praising the attack.

“Ten days after the Brooklyn Bridge shooting, the Hamas movement in Gaza released a communique praising Rashid Baz’s attack on the van. With great pride the movement bestowed upon him the tile of mujabid , a holy warrior and Ibn Islam , a son of Islam, meaning one who serves as a role model and inspiration to others:

We will retain the cry of condemnation on your hearts and our hand is backed by millions of Muslim hands that are ready to carry out their execution role against Jews. Only Islam is the legitimate and exclusive representation of our people and its predicament; and the living proof of to this is namely the holy warrior and Lebanese immigrant Rashid Al-Baz, the son of Islam who took action against the souls of the evil dregs of the Jews in Brooklyn in America.

Another of the men arrested, Yousef Odeh, had ties to the World Trade Center bombing.

Odeh also had a business selling baby formula. And one of his investors in the 1990s was Omar Abdel Rahman, the Blind Sheikh convicted in the plot to bomb a number of New York City landmarks. Odeh also had personal and financial ties to Ahmed Abdel Sattar, who served as spokesman for the Blind Sheikh during the 1995 landmarks trial, and who had conveyed the Sheikh’s messages to his followers in Egypt and Afghanistan.

According to transcripts of his own 2004 trial, Sattar stated that he invested $10,000 of the Blind Sheikh’s money in Odeh’s baby formula business and was in phone contact with Odeh. In that trial, it was also alleged that Sattar used Odeh’s phone to receive sensitive calls from a fugitive leader of the extremist Egyptian Islamic Group shortly to discuss what threats they should make against the United States government in the wake of the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. Sattar, who himself worked with Odeh in the baby formula business, was convicted in 2005 of conspiracy to kill and kidnap persons in a foreign country and for soliciting crimes of violence.

That it took this long to bring Odeh and Baz in is yet another reminder that smaller scale terrorist organization and finances often go ignored.

Initial acts of Muslim terror like the Halberstam shooting are dismissed as lone wolf attacks and not investigated any further, until those involved turn out to have deeper terror connections.


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