Karim Said Atmani

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Karim Said Atmani
Detained atFrance
Charge(s)forging identity documents
Penaltyserved four years in France

A Moroccan[1] living illegally in Montreal since 1995,[2] Karim Said Atmani (also Abu Isham,[3] Abu Hisham[4]) was alleged to be a document-forger for the Groupe Islamique Armé, and shared an apartment with Ahmed Ressam.[5][6]

He frequently travelled to Bosnia,[7] and held both Bosnian and Moroccan passports.[4] In Bosnia he fought in an Arab brigade led by Abdelkader Mokhtari, another veteran of the GIA.[4] Evan Kohlmann claimed that, in addition, in 1994 and 1995, he "was officially tasked with organizing the transfer of foreign guerillas to Bosnia from staging points in Milan and elsewhere in Europe."[8]

According to Kohlmann, after the signing of the Dayton Accords, in Bosnia, from 1995, to his capture in 1999, Atmani held key support roles.[8] Kohlmann claimed he was Fateh Kamel's "right hand man", and was also close to Abu el-Ma'ali. According to Kohlmann, Italian police found evidence of telephone calls between Atmani and el-Ma'ali, when they raided Milan's Islamic Cultural Institute. According to Kohlmann, during a 1995 raid of Sheikh Anwar Shaaban's office they found a fraudulent passport bearing Atmani's photo.

In 1999, he was arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Niagara on the Lake, along with an associate believed to be smuggling guns.[9]

After being convicted of colluding with Osama bin Laden by a French court, he was released early for good behavior.[10] He is believed to have returned to Bosnia following his release.[10]

In 2015, Atmani was suspected of having aided attackers by supplying forged passports.[11]


  1. ^ "Bosnia — base for terrorism". Seattle Times. October 15, 2001. Archived from the original on 2016-03-09.
  2. ^ Hayder, Mili (2005-07-21). "Securing the Northern Front: Canada and the War on Terror". Jamestown Foundation, Volume 3, Issue 14. Archived from the original on 2016-08-14. Two other Afghanistan and Bosnia veterans, the Moroccan Karim Said Atmani and Hamid Aich whom Kamel had also met in Zenica clandestinely arrived in Montreal in late 1995 (following the Dayton Accords) and proceeded to join his burgeoning network.
  3. ^ Evan Kohlmann (2004). Al Qaida's Jihad in Europe. Berg publishers. ISBN 9781859738023.
  4. ^ a b c Roland Jacquard (2002). In the Name of Osama Bin Laden. Duke University Press. pp. 66–70. ISBN 9780822329916.
  5. ^ Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Summary of the Security Intelligence Report concerning Hassan Almrei, February 22, 2008.
  6. ^ Baravalle, Giorgio. "Rethink: Cause and Consequences of September 11", 2004
  7. ^ Jeffrey Smith (March 11, 2000). "A Bosnian Village's Terrorist Ties". Washington Post.
  8. ^ a b Evan Kohlmann (2006). Bosnian Security after Dayton: New Perspectives. Routledge Press. p. 163. ISBN 9781134148714. One U.S. official referred to Atmani as a 'crazy warrior with a nose so broken and twisted he could sniff around corners.'
  9. ^ Stewart Bell (2005). The Martyr's Oath. John Wiley & Son. ISBN 9780470739044.
  10. ^ a b "Jihadists find convenient base in Bosnia". Assyrian International News Agency. August 17, 2005. Also finding haven in Bosnia is Abu el Maali, who like Atmani, was a foreign national who fought in the Bosnia war.
  11. ^ Gordon N. Bardos (2015-02-04). "Charlie Hebdo: The Balkan Connection". World Affairs Journal. US intelligence believed that Atmani was traveling between Sarajevo and Istanbul, but Bosnian officials denied that Atmani had ever been there—until investigators later discovered that Atmani had been issued a Bosnian passport six months earlier.