A Serial Bomber in Phoenix

May 31, 2012 | 0900 GMT


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Stratfor By Scott Stewart

A small improvised explosive device (IED) detonated at a Salvation Army distribution center in Phoenix, Ariz., on the afternoon of May 24. Two Salvation Army employees discovered the explosive device, which was concealed inside a yellow, hand-held 6-volt flashlight, as they were sorting through a box of donated items. The IED exploded when one of the employees picked up the flashlight and attempted to turn it on. The blast was not very powerful, and the two employees suffered only minor injuries.

This was the third incident in the Greater Phoenix area in recent weeks involving an IED concealed in a flashlight. Two explosive devices very similar to the May 24 IED exploded May 13 and May 14 in Glendale, Ariz., a city in the Greater Phoenix metropolitan area. Both devices were abandoned in public places. In the May 13 incident, a woman discovered a yellow, hand-held 6-volt flashlight next to a tree outside a Glendale business. When the woman picked up the flashlight and attempted to turn it on, it exploded, causing minor scratches and bruises to her face and hands. It also inflicted minor wounds to a woman beside her. The next day, a man found an identical flashlight in a ditch where he was working in another part of Glendale. He was lightly injured when the flashlight exploded as he attempted to turn it on.

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Al-Qaeda will expose double agent’s identity, security chiefs fear

Security chiefs believe the identity of the double agent who foiled an al-Qaeda underwear bomb plot will be exposed by the terrorist group within weeks.

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It was hoped that the death of al-Awlaki, its chief recruiter and planner, would have proved a fatal blow to AQAP Photo: AP

By Sean Rayment, Philip Sherwell and Jason Lewis

8:30PM BST 12 May 2012

MI5 fear that militant Islamists will attempt to exact revenge on the British spy, who penetrated al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular (AQAP), by publishing his photograph on the internet – a move designed to incite extremists to hunt him down.

Sources have described the British spy as “gold dust”, adding that he was one of just a handful of agents in the last ten years to have successfully penetrated one of the groups aligned to al-Qaeda’s concept of global Jihad.

AQAP now represents the “greatest operational threat” to Britain and America, according to senior Whitehall sources.

The group is known for its use of modern communication techniques including the publication of an English-language magazine, Inspire, which is distributed to supporters over the internet.

The agent, a British passport holder of Saudi heritage, volunteered to take part in a suicide mission but instead escaped with an underwear bomb designed to blow up a US airliner.

He is understood to have been recruited and trained by MI5’s G6 section – the ultra-secret part of the organisation responsible for agent handling – before being sent on his mission to penetrate the Yemeni-based terror group.

A former security official told The Sunday Telegraph that although the mission to penetrate AQAP was a success, the agent was now “burned” and would never be able to take part in covert operations again.

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Officials: More Al Qaeda Bombs Unaccounted For

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New ‘Underwear’ Bomb Plot Stopped

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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

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.

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“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