The FBI reportedly discovered a “makeshift military-style obstacle course” and the remains of a child on a plot of land in Alabama that Sinclair media described this weekend as an “abandoned dump” owned by Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, who was arrested for establishing a similar site in New Mexico.
Law enforcement agents arrested Wahhaj two sisters, and several others in August after searching the New Mexico compound, where they found three-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj dead and evidence of a plot to stage jihadist attacks in the area. In March, authorities charged Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, believed to own the compound; sisters Hujrah and Subhanah Wahhaj; Jany Leveille; and Lucas Morton with conspiracy to provide material support for terrorist attacks. A judge dropped charges against some in the group in the case of the younger Wahhaj’s death for child abuse in August.
Authorities believe the adults in the New Mexico compound were training children to commit terrorist attacks and tried to “exorcise” Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj to cure his hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, a severe neurological condition requiring advanced medical treatment.
Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and his two sisters are the children of prominent Brooklyn imam Siraj Wahhaj. Authorities believe 9 of the 11 children found in the New Mexico compound are the imam’s grandchildren.
Sinclair Media revealed Friday that Siraj Ibh Wahhaj owned a property near Tuskegee, Alabama, found to contain what an FBI search warrant described as a “makeshift military-style obstacle course” and a dead child “believed to belong to Wahhaj,” prompting a child kidnapping charge following the dismissal of the child abuse charges in the New Mexico case. Police reportedly believe the terrorist training camp was designed for children’s use, not the adults in the compound.
Local news station WPMI visited the compound in early May, broadcasting footage of the scene that showed gas masks, children’s toys, and makeshift shacks built and tossed around the area. Before Sinclair’s report this weekend, police had apparently not yet revealed discovering child remains at the site, but the FBI’s search warrant provided significant detail on the area, describing it as “surrounded with hundreds of vehicle tires, assorted trash,” and adding that “both structures have wooden pallets with clear plastic tarps draped over them.”
The WMPI team reported:
Neighbors tell us they saw agents in white forensic suits walking the property last year. And while we saw lots of tires there, they were not stacked up acting as a wall, as we saw with their compound in New Mexico. It’s unclear if the FBI had dismantled a tire wall to search the property. We also did not see any evidence of target practice, as was discovered in New Mexico. But again, we were there after the FBI conducted its search.
We did see evidence small children lived at the Alabama compound. There were lots of old toys, dolls, and a girl’s bike. There was furniture inside the makeshift structure. A dresser and dining table all piled up, outside there were mattresses stacked up against it. And we noted a minivan with Georgia tags on-site. We know from an accident report there were at least nine people, seven of them children with Wahhaj at the Alabama compound.
The group was also reportedly trying to use solar power to create a home that did not rely on electricity from the federal power grid, making it easier to find:
NBC 15 reported this month that, in the process of investigating the Alabama compound, police found that they had stopped Wahhaj and his late son in Alabama three days after the child’s mother reported him missing in Georgia and eight months before the raid on the New Mexico compound. Wahhaj had reportedly told police he was going to New Mexico for a camping trip with his son. Police found five guns, a bulletproof vest, and several other items in the car but let Wahhaj go, according to a report of the incident.
The legal drama in New Mexico unfolded in August as the five suspects demanded the government drop charges against them for terrorism and child abuse. Authorities revealed at the time that Jany Leveille described herself as Wahhaj’s “Muslim wife,” while Lucas Morten was identified as the husband of sister Subhannah Wahhaj. Leveille is not the mother of Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, identified as Georgia resident Hakima Ramzi.
Prosecutors accused the group of suffering from “dangerous delusions” and planning to attack a hospital in Georgia because they considered it “corrupt.” They also claimed the group trained children in firearms use to prepare them to attack schools. In August, a New Mexico judge dismissed child abuse charges against Subhannah Wahhaj, Hujrah Wahhaj, and Lucas Morten because prosecutors failed to follow procedure and bring them to a preliminary hearing within ten days. Siraj Wahhaj and Jany Leveille still face those charges.
Imam Wahhaj denied any links to the group in August, claiming that his children disengaged from him and that, once alerted to the state of their compound, alerted police and helped them find it.
“To me there is something obviously happening, some mental disorder to me this doesn’t seem like them,” he said at the time.
The elder Wahhaj was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and served as a character witness in the case of “the Blind Sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman, believed to have plotted the attack.