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A New York City imam linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing steered police to the decrepit New Mexico compound where his son was allegedly training school shooters, he told reporters Thursday.
Siraj Wahhaj, who also leads a well-known Brooklyn mosque, said his daughter told him that family members were on the verge of starvation at the desert compound.
“The police came in because of information that we gave them,” he said, adding a body found at the compound was that of his grandson, 4-year-old Abdul-ghani Wahhaj. However, the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigators told Fox News that officials were still working to identify the remains. The boy had been reported missing in Georgia in December.
Wahhaj, the grandfather of a missing Georgia boy, says the remains of the child were found buried at a desert compound in New Mexico. (AP)
Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 39, the imam’s son, and four other adults were arrested at the makeshift compound last week, which was found shielded by old tires, wooden pallets and other debris.
The Muslim cleric, who was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, appeared confused as to why his son would have allegedly been involved in the business of training kids to shoot up schools. He called his two daughters — 38-year-old Hujrah Wahhaj and 35-year-old Subhannah Wahhaj, both of whom lived at the compound – the “sweetest kinds of people.”
“To me, there’s obviously something happening, some mental disorder, something — I don’t know what it is,” he said. “This doesn’t seem like them. We’re just trying to understand what happened.”
Authorities raided the compound after a months-long search investigating the disappearance of the boy.
Upon authorities’ arrival, Wahhaj was “heavily armed with an AR15 rifle, five loaded 30 round magazines, and four loaded pistols, including one in his pocket when he was taken down,” Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said.
The Clarion Project assisted authorities in their investigation into the compound, Clarion Intelligence Network Director Ryan Mauro told “Fox & Friends First” hosts Jillian Mele and Rob Schmitt.
“Ever since the raid happen, I’ve been providing information to authorities about the ideology. About how I thought the group was operating,” Mauro said.
Mauro said he traced the compound leaders to a company that appears to be involved in security and investigation. He said he has seen Islamist groups act in a similar manner.
“It’s a way of having an alibi to acquire weapons legally, to get training and to have the type of expertise you would need for this type of thing,” Mauro said, adding he provided information about financial fraud and identity fraud.
Fox News’ Nicole Darrah and Daniel Gallo and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Ryan Gaydos is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @RyanGaydos.
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