The Latest on The Middle Eastern Firework Enthusiasts


Started a new post on the two Middle Eastern firework enthusiasts arrested in South Carolina a few days ago.  Check out my earlier thread here with lots of info.  Now onto the new stuff, and its a doozy:

Investigators have removed computers from the family home of a University of South Florida student accused of having pipe bombs in his car, according to Ahmed Bedier, executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

He said the FBI contacted the parents of Yousseff Samir Megahed of 4959 Anniston Circle, Tampa, who were on vacation, and got permission to search their home. When they returned, their computers were gone.

Megahed is one of two USF students arrested near a naval base in South Carolina over the weekend.


An arrest affidavit from the Berkeley County, S.C., Sheriff’s Office says that Mohamed told deputies he made the devices from components he bought at Wal-Mart.

The men told deputies that the explosives were fireworks, according to Berkeley County Sheriff Wayne DeWitt.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Sharon Weber said the FBI had gone to a store for surveillance footage but declined to say which store or what is on the tape.

"The FBI has been to a store and picked up videotape," she said. "It’s an open investigation. I don’t think it would be appropriate to respond to specific questions."


On July 24, Tampa police accused Mohamed of illegally shooting squirrels in an east Tampa park. Police say he and Ahmad A. Ishtay, 19, used a pellet gun to shoot the animals in Rowlette Park.

Both were issued citations for discharging a firearm and using an illegal method of taking game, a report said. The case has not been resolved, court records show.

"He invited me," Ishtay said about going to the park with Mohamed.

Ishtay, who rents a Temple Terrace house and works at Boston Market, said he met Mohamed and Megahed through a roommate. He said he didn’t know the roommate’s last name, but he was from Mauritania.

Another of Ishtay’s roommates, Ghassan Salhab, 27, said the man from Mauritania moved here from Canada recently and returned there Monday.

Don’t know about you but the FBI searching their homes and seizing their computers makes me think there is a bit more to this story then some guys on a pleasure drive with their toy rockets and fireworks.


Now the neighbors are coming into the picture:

Sherri Jackson who was Megahed’s neighbor until March says FBI agents told her they were terrorists.

Jackson says the FBI came to question her Sunday.

Jackson says things seemed suspicious

She says she saw lot of traffic, a lot of people going back and forth, oxygen tanks being delivered UPS and Fed Ex deliveries and a lot going on.


Sherri Jackson is positive of one thing, her former neighbor left as if he didn’t want to be found.

Jackson says they left in a hurry. She adds when they moved in they never looked like they were settled instead they looked like they could be gone in five minutes.

And these arrests focus attention on the University of South Florida which is the former employer of one of the founders of the terrorist organization, The Palestinian Islamic Jihad as well as Professor Sami Al-Arian who was convicted for conspiracy for helping that organization. And now once again USF is under the microscope.

Which along with the last few paragraphs of the first report really starts to get the hairs on the back of my head standing up:

Ishtay, who rents a Temple Terrace house and works at Boston Market, said he met Mohamed and Megahed through a roommate. He said he didn’t know the roommate’s last name, but he was from Mauritania.

Another of Ishtay’s roommates, Ghassan Salhab, 27, said the man from Mauritania moved here from Canada recently and returned there Monday.

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I have issue in calling a pellet gun a firearm. Does that make a staw a missle launcher if it could be used to shoot spit wads? If anybody shot a real firearm in a city park, they would get more than a citation.

In Idaho, squirrels are not game. You can get a $5 varmint tag and kill them by the hundreds. Also how exactly did they use an illegal method of killing game. One illegal method of hunting game, at least in California, is using exposed food to lure game. But exposed food is used to lurer cetain animals such as roaches, rats, moles, mice, and fish. That’s why Fish and Game is not just Game. It’s also why pest control doesn’t need hunting licenses to do their job or get busted by the government for setting traps. In other words, not all animals are considered game.

It’s also kind of strange to need to go to somebody else to see if somebody was accused of a crime. I would think the story would start of by saying, “The FBI arrested so and so for having pipe bombs.”

Probably any case involving the feds would involve taking computers and searching homes.

For better or worse, paintball guns, pellet guns, all kinds of non-gunpowder-drive, projectile throwin’, things are labeled as firearms to one degree or another. I don’t like it either. It seems kinda outdated. Given the rise in non-lethal defense technologies, it seems there needs to be a new category of “weapons” so that dealing with them can be a lot more clear. Shooting vermin with a BB gun should not at all have the same penalty as doing so with a permitted AK47. Conversely, pellet, BB, paintball, etc, these things cannot be expected to be so tightly regulated as to require permits. My 2 cents

On the “fireworks” idea….I wonder, what kinda of stuff can one buy at Walmart to make fireworks? I know they sell ammo there, and model rockets, but I’ve never seen model rocket fuse, or plain powder for loading one’s own rounds. I haven’t even seen pipe and pipe fittings at Walmart. So, what’d they buy there to make bombs/fireworks? Sure, the alcohol/aluminum foil gig works, but are we gonna regulate sales of that?

Looking forward to more details.

It very well could be that these two morons were just vandals in the making, but it’s definitely worth looking into closely, and I applaud both law enforcement’s handling so far as well as the two guys’ willingness (apparently) to cooperate.

Wasn’t Dr. Sami Al-Arian, the professor that Bill O’Reilly harped on and who is serving time for ties to terrorist groups, from University of South Florida – Tampa? The fact that Al-Arian was there for so long would suggest that the University is somewhat tolerant of “radical” Muslim activities. It will be interesting to see if there are any ties between these two and Al-Arian or any student groups that he founded.

If you think of the shell and it’s powder as a gas generator, which is all it really is, then you can easily see that a pellet gun is equivalent to a high powered rifle in the principle on which they both function. The amount of gas and the pressure squirting the bullet out of the barrel is simply(!) quite a bit higher for the high-powered rifle than for air powered pellet guns. Some commercially available air guns can have muzzle velocities of up to 1200 fps for a 22 pellet, comparable to a 22 long rifle.

So it doesn’t surprise me to find pellet guns classified as firearms, even if there’s no fire or flame involved. Firearm has simply become a term for a device that projects a solid projectile through a straight tubular device, emerging from the device (or barrel) at high speeds. And yes, everything from straw and spitwad to atomic cannon fits this definition. The moral is: keep in touch with your legislators when they go to revise firearms regulations.

I have squirrel’s all over my place and there is also a squirrel season. Get caught shooting one, or killing one, with anything out of season and you can expect a large fine. The only varmints that may be killed year round are Coyote’s and Ground hogs, and that requires a hunting license also. Bet these nuts met none of the requirements. It’s funny how many people support these guys without knowing their history and purpose in life. Is there an Islamist in the world that isn’t out to kill everyone and take over the world? I doubt it.

“Another of Ishtay’s roommates, Ghassan Salhab, 27, said the man from Mauritania moved here from Canada recently and returned there Monday.”

The MSA, which is a prominent Muslim student group at the University of Southern Florida, has a substantial presence in Canada.

More to South Carolina Terror Plot Than Initially Reported

As we discussed in this post, there seems to be more to this story than two guys who like model rockets. According to the Associated Press, phrases like pipe bombs and terrorism probe are now being used. Oh, and the