Sheikh Dr. Omar Abdel-Rahman, aka 'the Blind Sheikh,' was arrested on July 1, 1993 in Brooklyn, New York and on October 1, 1995 was convicted of seditious conspiracy and solicitation to attack a military installation on Staten Island, and conspiracies to bomb New York landmarks. On January 17, 1996, he was sentenced to life in prison.
A federal jury convicted Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman of planning to wage a "war of urban terrorism" against the United States, including blowing up the United Nations building, the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, the main federal office building in Manhattan, and the George Washington Bridge.
Recent Al-Qaeda and jihadi propaganda have focused on calls for the release of the Blind Sheikh; among these was a statement by Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri released on September 10, 2012, the day prior to the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi which killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and another video by Ayman Al-Zawahiri released on October 24, 2012. In addition, on January 23, 2013, Al-Rudoud Al-Qawiyya L'il Murjia Al-Ghawiyya, a popular Facebook page associated with the Salafi-jihadi movement worldwide, posted a list of the gains reaped by the jihad movement from the attack on the 'Ain Amenas gas installation in Algeria: "Reviving the tenet of al-wala' wal bara' in the souls of the ummah. This was expressed in the brothers' demands during the negotiations with the enemy, such as the demands to release the mujahid sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman."
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