Jim Kouri
Terrorism task force nabs Jordanian national for threat against Jewish school
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By Jim Kouri
March 23, 2009

Mohammed Alkaramla, age 24, of Chicago was arrested on Friday at his residence, without incident, by members of the Chicago FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) for suspicion of sending a threatening letter to a Jewish school. The suspect, who is a Jordanian national, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago with one count of sending an Interstate Threatening Communication, which is a felony offense.

According to the complaint, Alkaramla is suspected of sending a letter to the Ida Crown Jewish Academy, located at 2828 West Pratt in Chicago, on December 30, 2008. The letter, which investigation determined bore a return address for a fictitious individual and a location associated with Hubbard High School, 6032 South Karlov Avenue in Chicago, claimed that explosives would be set off around the school, if military actions in Gaza did not cease.

The letter gave a deadline of January 15, 2009 for this demand to be met. No explosive devices were ever planted and no injuries were reported.

The arrest announced today was the result a three-month investigation conducted by the Chicago FBI's JTTF, which included a February 2009 search of the suspect's Chicago residence. This inquiry was greatly aided by forensic examinations conducted by the Illinois State Police Forensic Science Center in Chicago.

In announcing this arrest, Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, recognized the extraordinary efforts of the Chicago FBI's JTTF in utilizing advanced investigative and forensic techniques, which eventually led to the identification of Alkaramla as the suspected author of the letter.

Grant added "The passions associated with centuries old conflicts, which are understandably deep rooted, will not be allowed to manifest themselves here through threats of violence."

Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, added "I am grateful for the diligent work of the JTTF. Anyone who threatens violence to people based upon the victims' nationality or religion should know that their actions will be investigated and where appropriate prosecuted."

The Jordanian appeared in U.S. District Court in Chicago before Magistrate Judge Sidney Shenkier, at which time he was formally charged. He was ordered held without bond, pending his next scheduled court appearance, and will be housed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in downtown Chicago.

If convicted of the charge filed against him, Alkaramla faces a possible sentence of up to ten (10) years incarceration.

The Chicago FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force is comprised of FBI special agents, officers from the Chicago Police Department and representatives from approximately 20 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Writer's note: Copies of the criminal complaint filed in this case are available from the Chicago FBI's press office at (312) 829-1199.

© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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