Officials: More Al Qaeda Bombs Unaccounted For

clip_image001

New ‘Underwear’ Bomb Plot Stopped

Auto Start: On | Off

By BRIAN ROSS (@brianross) , RICHARD ESPOSITO and RHONDA SCHWARTZ

May 7, 2012

U.S. and European officials say that even though an al Qaeda bomber was stopped before he could board a plane for the U.S., the threat is far from over — there are believed to be several other would-be bombers with similar non-metallic devices that could get through most airport security screening.

Federal officials confirmed today that the U.S., working with other intelligence agencies, recovered an explosive device that resembles other bombs manufactured by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. They described it as a refinement of the so-called underwear bomb with which AQAP recruit Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to take down Northwest flight 253 to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.

The plot was timed to coincide with the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death, but the bomber was apprehended before he could purchase plane tickets or choose a U.S.-bound flight. Continue reading

Advertisements

Macedonian police file terrorism charges against 5 suspects in fishermen deaths

(Boris Grdanoski/ Associated Press ) – Police officers escort a man into court to appear on terrorism charges in connection with the killing of five men last month, in Skopje, Macedonia, Wednesday, May 2, 2012. Macedonian authorities arrested some 20 radical Islamists, suspected in the murder of five Macedonian fishermen last month which fueled ethnic tensions in this tiny Balkan country.

clip_image001clip_image002clip_image002[1]clip_image002[2]clip_image002[3]clip_image002[4]clip_image002[5]clip_image002[6]clip_image002[8]

CAPTION FULLSCREEN

By Associated Press, Published: May 2

SKOPJE, Macedonia — Macedonian authorities have filed terrorism charges against five men in connection with the shooting deaths of five Macedonian fishermen in mid-April, Interior Minister Gordana Jankuloska said.

Two of those charged were still at large, while the other three were among 20 people identified as radical Islamists who were arrested in connection with the case Tuesday.

The killings of the fishermen near the Macedonian capital Skopje last month fueled tension in the Balkan country between majority Macedonians and the mostly Muslim ethnic Albanian minority.

State Prosecutor Ljupco Svrgovski told media Wednesday that if found guilty of terrorism, the suspects faced life imprisonment sentences.

The remaining 17 of those arrested during an early-morning raid on Tuesday were being interviewed by an investigative judge. They are being investigated on suspicion of terrorism, helping commit the murders and illegal possession and trade of weapons.

Continue reading

Al-Qaeda now ‘incapable of 9/11-scale attack’

GSPC Area of Operations & Pan-Sahel Initiative...

GSPC Area of Operations & Pan-Sahel Initiative nations (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Washington – Al-Qaeda‘s core organisation is likely incapable of carrying out another mass-casualty attack on the scale of 11 September 2001, US intelligence and counterterrorism officials said on Friday.
US government experts also believe that the likelihood of an attack using chemical, biological, atomic or radiological weapons over the next year was not high, said Robert Cardillo, deputy director of US National Intelligence.
Cardillo and other US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described these assessments on a conference call with journalists billed as an opportunity for government experts to voice their assessments of al-Qaeda’s potency a year after the killing of Osama bin Laden in a US commando raid.
Cardillo said the al-Qaeda “core” organisation that bin Laden created has suffered strategic setbacks due to the outbreak of “Arab Spring” protests and rebellions in Islamic countries, which have not spread great sympathy for al-Qaeda’s hardline and violent brand of Islam.

Continue reading

Insurgency in Yemen: The New Challenge to American Counter-Terrorism Strategy

Yemen division 2011-10-23

Yemen division 2011-10-23 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Katherine Zimmerman   March 19, 2012

clip_image002

Introduction

American strategy against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen relies on local Yemeni forces to defeat terrorists and the militias that support them.[1] The challenge has historically been finding and eliminating AQAP leaders, since the group has held relatively isolated safe havens until recently. The advent of the Arab Spring and the subsequent contraction of the Yemeni state, however, allowed AQAP and a nascent insurgent arm, Ansar al Sharia, to expand their sanctuary in Yemen dramatically. They have even threatened Aden, Yemen’s second city, advanced toward Sana’a, and fought Yemen’s military to a draw. American assistance programs aimed at helping Yemen build and maintain counter-terrorism forces will not suffice in the face of a real and growing al Qaeda-affiliated insurgency.

Yemen’s military capabilities enhanced through American security assistance programs were not designed to counter an insurgency. In the wake of the Yemeni government’s crackdown on protests in 2011, in fact, the U.S. government suspended many forms of support even within that counter-terrorism assistance program that might have been used to suppress demonstrators. But defeating the insurgency will require regular Yemeni troops, not just elite counter-terrorism units. These regular troops do not have advanced training, nor are they well equipped. Ongoing political challenges in Sana’a, security challenges elsewhere in the country, and the steady collapse of Yemen’s economy and infrastructure will all compete for the attention of the government in Sana’a and hinder the prosecution of the counter-insurgency campaign in the south. If the assumption that Yemeni forces will be successful proves to be false, then America’s counter-terrorism strategy in Yemen fails. Amidst the many challenges facing American policy in Yemen today, we must now add the requirement to design a dramatically different approach to helping Yemenis fight the Islamist threat that also threatens the United States.

Continue reading

A further demonstration of the rewards of a long career in terrorism

PUBLISHED: 14:17 GMT, 26

By Steve Doughty

March 2012 | UPDATED: 17:29 GMT, 26 March 2012

You love life and we love death, Al Qaeda once proclaimed. The slogan now needs a little reworking to make room for Abu Qatada, who loves his large house in north west London.

Something like you love life, we love death, but only for other people.
Abu Qatada, you will recollect, is the man once described by a judge as Osama Bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe. He is living in Britain courtesy of the European Court of Human Rights, which has ruled he could not get a fair trial if he were deported to his native Jordan. The Strasbourg judges fear evidence gained through torture could be used against him.

We know that Qatada is enjoying life because we have it from his brother in Jordan, who has said that ‘right now he is the happiest man in England’.

clip_image001

Rehoused: Qatada has been handed a more expensive taxpayer-funded home

This is a major endorsement for the Court of Human Rights, the European human rights convention which it enforces, and of course the Human Rights Act, which gives these rules precedence in our own law. In America, the Declaration of Independence offers the right only to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

Here the European court will give you happiness on a plate, although there has to be some doubt about the life bit if Abu Qatada is allowed to hang around for long.

According to his brother Ibrahim Othman, Qatada spends his days with his wife and five children living the simple life, watching Islamic TV channels and reading Islamic texts.

I’m surprised he’s not a Rolling Stones fan. You may remember Keith Richards saying happiness is not a Lear Jet to fly home on.

But if we are to believe Mr Othman, the main source of Qatada’s happiness is not his piety but his house. Let him tell it: ‘They have now given him a very nice new place, bigger than the first house he went to.

Continue reading

How the “Underwear Bomber” Met Anwar al-Awlaki

Posted on 2012/03/13 by Florian Flade

“Underwear Bomber”  – Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

On Christmas Day 2009 a young Nigerian man named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded US-bound Northwest Airlines Flight 253 at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. He did not raise any suspicion until he tried to set fire to his pants when the airplane was flying over Detroit. Other passengers tackled the young African man to the ground, preventing him from carrying out his deadly mission: to blow up the airliner over the US with an explosive device hidden in his underwear.

Before he started his suicidal mission, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, son of wealthy Nigerian banker, had lived in Yemen for several months. The devout Muslim had made contact with one of the most dangerous Jihadi clerics – late Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born Yemeni preacher who was killed in a US drone strike in September 2011. Awlaki arranged for the ambitious Nigerian a trip to the training camps of Al-Qaida in Yemen.

Abdulmutallab, the so-called failed “Underwear Bomber” was sentenced to life in prison by a US court on February 16. New court documents reveal how Abdulmutallab came in touch with Awlaki and how he was guided into the inner core of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Here is an excerpt from a FBI document highlighting Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab´s journey in Yemen and his meeting with Anwar al-Awlaki.

_________________________________________

“In August 2009, defendant left Dubai, where he had been taking graduate classes, and traveled to Yemen. For several years, defendant had been following the online teachings of Anwar Awlaki, and he went to Yemen to try to meet him in order to discuss the possibility of becoming involved in jihad. Defendant by that time had become committed in his own mind to carrying out an act of jihad, and was contemplating “martyrdom;” i.e., a suicide operation in which he and others would be killed.

Once in Yemen, defendant visited mosques and asked people he met if they knew how he could meet Awlaki. Eventually, defendant made contact with an individual who in turn made Awlaki aware of defendant’s desire to meet him. Defendant provided this individual with the number for his Yemeni cellular telephone.

Thereafter, defendant received a text message from Awlaki telling defendant to call him, which defendant did. During their brief telephone conversation, it was agreed that defendant would send Awlaki a written message explaining why he wanted to become involved in jihad. Defendant took several days to write his message to Awlaki, telling him of his desire to become involved in jihad, and seeking Awlaki’s guidance. After receiving defendant’s message, Awlaki sent defendant a response, telling him that Awlaki would find a way for defendant to become involved in jihad.

Thereafter, defendant was picked up and driven through the Yemeni desert. He eventually arrived at Awlaki’s house, and stayed there for three days. During that time, defendant met with Awlaki and the two men discussed martyrdom and jihad. Awlaki told defendant that jihad requires patience but comes with many rewards. Defendant understood that Awlaki used these discussions to evaluate defendant’s commitment to and suitability for jihad. Throughout, defendant expressed his willingness to become involved in any mission chosen for him, including martyrdom – and by the end of his stay, Awlaki had accepted defendant for a martyrdom mission. Continue reading

Hamas Leaders Say No Attacks On Israel During War With Iran

A flag, with the Shahadah, frequently used by ...

Image via Wikipedia

U.K. media is reporting that Hamas leaders have denied that the organization will attack Israel in the course of any war with Iran. According to a BBC report:

Leaders of the Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas, say they will not help Iran militarily in any conflict between Israel and the Islamic Republic.  There is speculation in Israel that if it attacked Iran’s nuclear facilities, it could face rocket fire from Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.  Both are long-time allies of Iran.  But Mahmoud Zahhar, a senior leader of Hamas in Gaza, denied the group would get involved and told the BBC: “We are not part of any political axis.”  ”If Israel attacks us we will respond. If they don’t, we will not get involved in any other regional conflict,” he added.  Mr Zahhar questioned Hamas’s ability to offer support from the Palestinian territory to the south of Israel, even if it wanted to.  ”Don’t exaggerate our power. We are still suffering from the occupation, the siege and two wars in recent years,” he said.  Israel tightened its blockade of Gaza in 2007 after Hamas seized control of the territory from forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement.  Ideological differences Another senior Hamas official in Gaza, who did not want to be named, also insisted that Hamas would stay out of any conflict between Israel and Iran.

Continue reading