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Mohammed Jamal Khalifa
Born (1957-02-01)February 1, 1957
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Died January 31, 2007(2007-01-31) (aged 49)

Mohammed Jamal Khalifa (Arabic language: محمد جمال خليفه‎) (1 February 1957 – 31 January 2007) was a Saudi Arabian businessman from Jeddah who married one of Osama bin Laden's sisters.[1]


The first glimpse U.S. authorities had of Khalifa came in 1992, when his alias Barra appeared on a bomb-making manual carried by Ahmed Ajaj who entered the United States on a false passport.[2][3][better source needed]

Khalifa started the Benevolence International Corporation in the Philippines in 1988, apparently to recruit people for the war against the Soviets. The Benevolence International Corporation claimed to be an import-export company. In 1992, that group folded visible operations while another group known as the Islamic Benevolence Committee renamed itself to Benevolence International Foundation.[4]

What was left of the Benevolence International Corporation allegedly gave logistical support to terrorists.[5] The remains of the Benevolence International Corporation have been accused of assisting the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the Bojinka plot that was foiled in 1995. The U.S. government claims he came to the Philippines to support Abu Sayyaf. Khalifa had married a local woman, Alice "Jameelah" Yabo,[6] and frequently exited and entered the country for "business" reasons. Yabo was the sister of Ahmad al-Hamwi, better known as Abu Omar.[7] Philippines authorities say Khalifa moved money to Abu Sayyaf to pay for supplies, and that Khalifa was frequently in contact with Riduan Isamuddin, aka Hambali.[citation needed]

Khalifa ran the International Relations and Information Center, where money was embezzled through the bank account of Omar Abu Omar,[8] an employee at the center, to an account under the name of Adel Sabah, an alias of Ramzi Yousef.[9] Khalifa started several other groups, including the Khalifa Trading Industries, which U.S. investigators stated were front organizations.[10] [11][not in citation given][better source needed]

U.S. and Filipino investigators accused Khalifa of once being an important lieutenant of Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda organization, which was based in Sudan at the time he allegedly was involved in terrorist plots.[citation needed]

Khalifa was arrested in Saudi Arabia shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, but was released without charges being filed. Later that year, he publicly condemned Osama Bin Laden and publicly distanced himself from Al Qaeda.[12]

Other detailsEdit

Khalifa is said to have trained with Osama Bin Laden in the mujahideen camps in Afghanistan during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.[12] His business cards have been found in Yousef's Jersey City, New Jersey apartment. They also have been found in Ramzi Yousef's Manila apartment.[2][better source needed]

Khalifa was the regional director of the Philippines for the International Islamic Relief Organization.[13]

On December 1, 1994, Khalifa met Mohamed Loay Bayazid, the president of Benevolence International Foundation, in the United States. Khalifa and Bayazid were arrested on December 14, 1994, in Mountain View, California on charges related to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Khalifa was planning to fly to the Philippines.[14]

When the FBI looked inside Khalifa's luggage, they found manuals in Arabic on training terrorists, which covered subjects such as bomb-making and other violent activities. Khalifa claims that his possession of the materials was innocent. They also found a personal organizer with several contacts. One phone number was for Wali Khan Amin Shah, a member of the Manila cell, which was plotting Operation Bojinka at the time. There was also a listing for an unknown man, who might have been Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Khalifa was placed in solitary confinement and the contents of his luggage were logged and edited.[15]

On January 6 and January 7, 1995, Operation Bojinka was discovered after a fire at Yousef's Manila apartment. Investigators found evidence related to the plot.[15] Abdul Hakim Murad, who was arrested at the apartment, had five phone numbers pointing to Khalifa. They also found logs of phone calls to and from Khalifa before his arrest and contact information on Ramzi Yousef's computer.[citation needed]

In Jordan, a court there convicted Khalifa in absentia for a string of theatre bombings. Khalifa faced a possible death sentence as a result. Khalifa first fought his deportation by suing the government.

In March 1995, evidence forwarded to the United States from the Philippines suggested Khalifa was funding the foiled Operation Bojinka plot. On April 18, the conviction in Jordan was overturned as a key witness recanted his testimony. On April 20, an associate of Yousef and Khalifa stated that Yousef was responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. On April 26, Khalifa requested to be deported to Jordan at his hearing. On May 5, Khalifa was deported to Jordan by the INS, and the INS returned Khalifa's belongings. A Jordanian court acquitted Khalifa. Bayazid was also let go. He disappeared shortly after.[citation needed]


On 31 January 2007, Khalifa was assassinated reportedly by operators from the Joint Special Operations Command while visiting a gemstone mine he owned in Sakamilko, near the town of Sakaraha in southern Madagascar. Reports state that around 25 to 30 armed men raided Khalifa's residence in the middle of the night and killed him and removed his computer and other intelligence materials.[12][16]


  1. "Bin Laden's brother-in-law killed". CNN. January 31, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-02-02. Retrieved 2007-01-31. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Mohammed Jamal Khalifa". Retrieved 2012-06-19. "Some of the bomb manuals were marked with the name Abu Barra, an alias the FBI says was used by Khalifa." 
  3. Berger, JM (December 2004). "The Unfinished Investigation". Retrieved 2012-06-19. "An alias used by Khalifa, Abu Barra, was written inside the cover of one of Ahmed Ajaj's bomb manuals." 
  4. "Treasury designates Benevolence International Foundation and related entities as financiers of terrorism". US Department of the Treasury. 2002-11-19. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  5. George W Bush (2001-09-23). "Executive Order 13224 blocking Terrorist Property and a summary of the Terrorism Sanctions Regulations". Names of entities designated on 11-19-02. p. 5. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  6. Abuza, Zachary (September 2005). Balik-Terrorism: The Return of the Abu Sayyaf. Carlisle PA: Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College. p. 47. ISBN 1-58487-208-X. Retrieved 2012-06-19. "Based on IIRO documents at the PSEC, Khalifa was one of five incorporators who signed the documents of registration; another was Khalifa's wife, Alice 'Jameelah' Yabo." 
  7. "AFP was aware of 'al-Qaeda associate'". 2006-04-08. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  8. Abuza, Zachary (December 2014). "Funding Terrorism in Southeast Asia: The Financial Network of Al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah". p. 27. 
  9. "Ramzi Yousef". Global Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  10. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}" (in French). 2007-06-02. Retrieved 2012-06-20. "..., on le découvre en 1988 aux Philippines où il possède une société d'import-export, Khalifa Trading Industries, ..., mais consacre l'essentiel de son activité à l'International islamic relief agency (IIRO). [..., one discovers the Philippines in 1988 where he owns an import-export, Khalifa Trading Industries, ..., but devotes most of its activity at the International Islamic Relief Agency (IIRO).]" 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Fielding, Nick (2007-03-01). "Gems, al-Qaida and murder. Mystery over killing of Osama Bin Laden's friend". Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  13. "National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States". 2003-07-09. Retrieved 2012-06-19. "MR. GUNARATNA: Sir, Mohammad Jamal Khalifa ... arrived in the Philippines in 1988 and he became the first director, the founding director, of the International Islamic Relief Organization of Saudi Arabia." 
  14. Rizzo, Tony (2006-09-09). "KC man linked to early al-Qaida". Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Raymond Bonner; Benjamin Weiser (2006-08-11). "Echoes of early design to use chemicals to blow up airliners". Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  16. Reuters; Sami Aboudi (2007-01-31). "Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law, killed in Madagascar". Retrieved 2012-06-19. 

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