Entries in Terrorists (23)


Algerian Hostage Crisis: Reported Tape of Terrorists Emerges

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Algerian TV has broadcast what it says is audiotape of terrorists at the In Amenas gas plant threatening to blow up the facility and "slaughter" U.S. hostages unless 100 imprisoned "comrades" are released, and also claiming that the hostages have been forced to wear bombs.

The recordings that aired on Algeria's Ennahar TV were made before the four-day hostage crisis at the BP joint venture facility in the Sahara ended with nearly all terrorists and at least 23 hostages dead.

"The Americans that are here, we will kill them," says Abdel Rahman el-Nigeri, a leader of the al Qaeda-linked terrorists who held the plant, in Arabic. "We will slaughter them."

A second person, identified by Ennahar TV as a hostage, says, in heavily accented English, "We have prisoners. We have hostages with bombs … on the body."

In Arabic, El-Nigeri demands that 100 "comrades" who were arrested 15 years ago be released. "Our demands are so easy, so easy if you want to negotiate with us," says el Nigeri. "Either we get our brothers out or we die."

He says that some hostages are still living after the Algerian military's initial assault, but warns "we shall bomb them if the Algerian Army gets near to us. Now they are heading towards us, God willing."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Terrorist Suspects Extradited to Face Charges in US

Bruno Vincent/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Having lost an eight-year battle to fight extradition, radical preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri and four other suspected al Qaeda suspects were brought into two U.S. courtrooms on Saturday to hear charges on various terrorist-related activities.  All five are British citizens.

The defendants were actually flown into the U.S. overnight Friday after losing a last-ditch appeal in British courts to block extradition based on human rights concerns about the conditions they would face in U.S. prisons.

Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, told reporters that prosecuting three of the men, "makes good on a promise to the American people to use every available diplomatic, legal, and administrative tool to pursue and prosecute charged terrorists no matter how long it takes."

Bharara said that Hamza, Adel Abdel Bary and Khaled al Fawwaz "were at the nerve centers of al Qaeda's acts of terror, and they caused blood to be shed, lives to be lost, and families to be shattered."

Hamza, the one-eyed and hook-handed former imam of a radical London mosque, faces charges of conspiring to set-up a terror training camp in Oregon and kidnapping 16 tourists in Yemen, two of them Americans.

Among other things, Bary and Fawwaz are charged in the deadly 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Meanwhile, at a federal court in New Haven, Conn., Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan were charged with running a pro-jihadi website to provide terrorists with cash, recruits and equipment.

All five, who pleaded not guilty during their brief courtroom appearances, will be formally arraigned on Tuesday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Terrorists Attack Pakistani Air Force Base

FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images(PUNJAB, Pakistan) -- A major Pakistan Air force base in Kamra in the Punjab province approximately 30 miles from Islamabad has been attacked by terrorists.

Military sources said Wednesday that an unknown number of terrorists, some in uniform, attacked the base from various directions. Armed with grenades and automatic firearms, terrorists penetrated the base Wednesday, exchanging fire with security personnel stationed there.

The Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) located at Kamra is home to a rebuild factory dedicated to the reconstruction and manufacturing of Mirage fighter aircraft and JF-17 thunder aircraft, which are being built with Chinese collaboration.

This is not the first attack by terrorists on Pakistani military bases. Similar attacks by terrorists on the military headquarters in Rawalpindi and a joint Air Force and Naval base in Karachi occurred last year.

The attack on PAC poses a major security breach. The base is a large and active facility where fighter jets and other military aircraft are parked at all times.

Army special forces were called to contain the situation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Three Suspected Al Qaeda Members Arrested in Spain

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Spanish police arrested three suspected al Qaeda operatives on Wednesday out of fear they were planning an airborne attack in Europe, Spain's interior minister, Jorge Fernandez Diaz, said Thursday.

Spanish police have arrested dozens of alleged militants since 2004, when a key Madrid train station was attacked, but Spanish media reported these were the first caught with explosives -- meaning they had become an operational cell.

The three suspects -- two from ex-Soviet republics and a Turk -- had timers and enough explosives to blow up a bus, Diaz told a press conference in Madrid.

At least two of those arrested had practiced flying light aircraft -- believed to be a motorized paraglider, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais.  Diaz called one of those arrested a "very important member" of al Qaeda who is an expert in explosives and poison.

"It is one of the most important operations against al Qaeda to date to be carried out on an international level," Diaz said.  "There are clear indications that the suspects arrested could have been planning an attack in Spain, and or, other European countries."

Diaz described the two suspects from ex-Soviet republics -- believed to be Chechnyan -- as al Qaeda members and said they were arrested as they traveled on a bus, possibly to cross into France.

"Police moved to arrest them when it became known that they planned to leave Spain," he said.

Diaz said the Turk, who he described as a facilitator, was arrested in a house in the southern town of La Linea, where the explosives were found.

Diaz said non-Spanish, international investigations aided in the operation.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


London Police Arrest Six on Suspicion of Terrorism

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Authorities in London have arrested six possible terrorists -- subduing one with a stun-gun -- as part of a months-long international terror probe.

The investigation that prompted Thursday's arrests by armed police has so far revealed no known connection to the Olympic Games set to begin later this month, although several arrests occurred near the main Olympic venue in London, according to a police statement and intelligence sources.

Separately, as authorities searched eight homes on Thursday, police near Birmingham stopped a budget intercity bus after a passenger spotted a man pouring something into his bag, and then saw smoke coming out.

In that incident, on the M6 Motorway, armed police escorted passengers off the bus in what was intially described as a "counter-terror response."  Staffordshire Police later issued a statement saying they are not treating this as a counter terrorism incident.

As armed police officers and bomb-sniffing dogs continued their investigation, passengers remained seated on the motorway, which was closed in both directions.  At least 12 fire trucks were on scene supporting the police operation.  The fire department appeared to have erected inflatable "Hazmat" tents.

The incident was unconnected to the arrests, authorities stated.

In the terror probe investigation, five men and one woman, ages 21 to 29, were arrested in several locations across London by officers from Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command.

The arrests were the "executive action" phase of a long-running investigation led by British intelligence service MI-5.

The men and woman were all arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000, police said.  They were taken to a southeast London police station where they are in custody.

Authorities would not disclose further details of the case that might compromise their strategy for interviewing the suspects.  What they seized in the searches is unknown.

Police said the arrests in London are related to a possible plot involving Islamist extremists and potential targets in the United Kingdom.  The incident and arrests occurred days after two people were picked up on suspicion of plotting an attack on the London Olympic canoeing venue.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Panetta Reveals US Has Lost Patience with Pakistan

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta made a surprise visit to Afghanistan Thursday but his mind was clearly on neighboring Pakistan.

Tensions between Washington and Islamabad have risen dramatically since the assassination of Osama bin Laden 13 months ago, with Pakistan remaining a hotbed for terrorist activity.

Panetta didn't hold back his frustration, saying that the administration has reached "the limits of our patience" with Pakistan for failing to reign in the outlaw Haqqani terrorist network that has links to al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Washington considers the Haqqani group the biggest deterrent to stability in Afghanistan as its fighters have launched deadly attacks on both American and Afghan soldiers and civilians.

Meeting with his Afghan counterpart, Abdul Rahim Wardak, Panetta told reporters, "It is extremely important that Pakistan take action to prevent this kind of safe haven from taking place and allowing terrorists to use their country as a safety net in order to conduct their attacks on our forces."

Ironically, the U.S. provides billions to Pakistan each year to go out and destroy these safe havens for militants -- a mission which the country appears to be failing.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Escalates Drone War on Al Qaeda in Yemen

JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The United States is intensifying its strikes in Yemen and increasing its presence there as it pursues al Qaeda.

Two suspected U.S. drone strikes killed 11 suspected al Qaeda militants in southern Yemen last Saturday, according to military officials in the country.  The news comes on the heels of an escalation in drone activity.

Just two days earlier, two airstrikes in southern Yemen killed seven, including two top al Qaeda leaders.  And merely a week ago, a drone strike killed Fahd Mohammed Ahmed al-Quso, the Yemeni al Qaeda operative responsible for 2000′s USS Cole bombing.

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The strike Saturday near the border of Marib and Shabwa provinces is the third to have been carried out this month.  The United States conducted six airstrikes in March and at least six more in April against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the militant Islamist organization primarily active in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.  In fact, there have been nearly as many drone strikes already this year as there were all of last year.

Last week, the Pentagon announced that they had resumed sending troops to Yemen to train the country’s counterterrorism forces.  The move comes after a suspension of training following the political upheaval that ousted former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

While the United States still has a long way to go, it’s making progress, according to former CIA and FBI official Philip Mudd.

“We’ve gone into the network of the organization,” Mudd said, referring to al Qaeda groups.  “The same strategy it seems to me is now being applied in Yemen.  That is, look at the entire organization, not just a few leaders, and decimate it from the inside.”

While the escalation in drone strikes is not aimed at any one terrorist, officials would undoubtedly like to get Ibrahim al-Asiri, a Saudi bomb maker adept at breaching aviation security.  The Yemen-based Asiri has drawn Defense Department scrutiny for his ability to fashion bombs using hard-to-detect chemicals and hiding them in equipment and clothing.

U.S. officials believe al-Asiri is the man behind the underwear bomb used by a Nigerian man to try and detonate an aircraft over the United States in 2009.  He’s believed to be plotting another attack, putting his ingenious chemical bombs in cameras, hard drives and, surprisingly to some, surgically implanting them in pets and even people.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Intel Head James Clapper on Greatest Threats in 2012

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The man in charge of all of America's intelligence gathering testified Tuesday before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment. The following are excerpts from National Director of Intelligence James Clapper's prepared remarks as provided to ABC News.

On Iran: We Don't Know If They'll Go for The Bomb, 'Concerned' About Attack on U.S.

"We assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons, in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better position it to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so. We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons. Iran nevertheless is expanding its uranium enrichment capabilities, which can be used for either civil or weapons purposes."

"Iran's technical advancement, particularly in uranium enrichment, strengthens our assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons, making the central issue its political will to do so. These advancements contribute to our judgment that Iran is technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon, if it so chooses. We judge Iran would likely choose missile delivery as its preferred method of delivering a nuclear weapon … Elite infighting has reached new levels, as the rift grows between Supreme Leader Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad."

"The 2011 plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States shows that some Iranian officials -- probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei -- have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime. We are also concerned about Iranian plotting against U.S. or allied interests overseas. Iran's willingness to sponsor future attacks in the United States or against our interests abroad probably will be shaped by Tehran's evaluation of the costs it bears for the plot against the ambassador as well as Iranian leaders' perceptions of U.S. threats against the regime."

On Terrorism: Al Qaeda 'Core' Weakening, Affiliates and Homegrown Terror Greater Threats

"The next two to three years will be a critical transition phase for the terrorist threat facing the United States, particularly from al Qaeda and like-minded groups … During this transition, we expect leadership of the movement to become more decentralized, with 'core' al Qaeda -- the Pakistan-based group formerly led by Osama bin Laden -- diminishing in operational importance; regional al Qaeda's affiliates planning and attempting terrorist attacks; multiple voices providing inspiration for the movement; and more vigorous debate about local versus global agendas."

"We do not assess that al Qaeda's new leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, will change al Qaeda's strategic direction, but most al Qaeda members find Zawahiri's leadership style less compelling than bin Laden's image as a holy man and warrior and will not offer him the deference they gave bin Laden."

"We judge that al Qaeda's losses are so substantial and its operating environment so restricted that a new group of leaders, even if they could be found, would have difficulty integrating into the organization and compensating for mounting losses."

Despite this, the DNI's statement notes that al Qaeda regional affiliates "will remain committed to the group's ideology, and in terms of threats to U.S. interests will surpass the remnants of core al Qaeda in Pakistan."

"We judge al Qaeda operatives are balancing support for attacks in Pakistan with guidance to refocus the global jihad externally, against U.S. targets. Al Qaeda also will increasingly rely on ideological and operational alliances with Pakistani militant factions to accomplish its goals within Pakistan and to conduct transnational attacks. Pakistani military leaders have had limited success against al Qaeda operatives, other foreign fighters, and Pakistani militants who pose a threat to Islamabad."

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Although high-profile al Qaeda cleric and recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed, the intelligence chief notes in his testimony that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the group to which Awlaki belonged, remains dangerous.

"We judge AQAP remains the node most likely to attempt transnational attacks. [Awlaki's] death probably reduces, at least temporarily, AQAP's ability to plan transnational attacks, but many of those responsible for implementing plots, including bomb makers, financiers, and facilitators, remain and could advance plots."

Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)

"We assess that AQI (al Qaeda in Iraq) will remain focused on overthrowing the Shia-led government in Baghdad in favor of a Sunni-led Islamic caliphate. It probably will attempt attacks primarily on local Iraqi targets, including government institutions, Iraqi Security Forces personnel, Shia civilians, and recalcitrant Sunnis, such as members of the Sons of Iraq, and will seek to rebuild support among the Sunni population. ... The Iraqi Government is positioned to keep violence near current levels through 2012, although periodic spikes are likely. Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are capable of planning and executing security operations, and Iraqi counter-terrorism forces have demonstrated they are capable of targeting remaining terrorists and insurgents."

Al Shabaab, Somalia

Clapper said the main issue concerning the al Qaeda-linked terror group al Shabaab in east Africa is with American-born fighters who have joined the group.

"Members of the group -- particularly a foreign fighter cadre that includes U.S. passport holders -- may also have aspirations to attack inside the United States. However, we lack insight into concrete operational plans outside the Horn of Africa."

Homegrown Threat

Clapper said that homegrown extremists may move to attack in the U.S. if America or the West engages in war in another Muslim nation. In his testimony Clapper notes that extremists may learn from past plots and averted attacks and disruptions.

On Afghanistan: Taliban Still Has 'Safe Haven' in Pakistan

Discussing the Taliban the intelligence chief said "its losses have come mainly in areas where ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) surge forces are concentrated. It remains resilient and capable of challenging U.S. and international goals and Taliban senior leaders continue to enjoy safe haven in Pakistan, which enables them to provide strategic direction to the insurgency and not fear for their safety. We assess al Qaeda's impact on the Afghanistan insurgency is limited."

"That said, al Qaeda is committed to the Afghan jihad, and the propaganda gains from participating in insurgent attacks outweigh their limited battlefield impact," he said. "In terms of security, we judge that the Afghan police and Army will continue to depend on ISAF support."

Clapper also notes that Afghans earned $1.8 billion from the drug trade last year.

On North Korea: Too Early to Judge New Leader, Two Nuclear Weapon Tests

"North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs pose a serious threat to the security environment in East Asia. Its export of ballistic missiles and associated materials to several countries, including Iran and Syria, and its assistance to Syria -- now ended -- illustrate the reach of the North's proliferation activities. We remain alert to the possibility that North Korea might again export nuclear technology."

"Kim Jong Un became North Korea's leader following the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, on 17 December 2011. Although it is still early to assess the extent of his authority, senior regime leaders will probably remain cohesive at least in the near term to prevent instability and protect their interests."

Clapper said that the U.S. intelligence community believes North Korea has tested two nuclear devices.

On the Arab Spring: Turmoil Will 'Challenge' U.S. Influence, Terrorists Could Exploit Unrest

"The Arab world is in a period of turmoil and change that will challenge the ability of the United States to influence events in the Middle East. This turmoil is driven by forces that will shape Arab politics for years, including a large youth population; economic grievances associated with persistent unemployment, inequality, and corruption; increased popular participation and renewed hope in effecting political change; and a greater ability by opposition groups to mobilize nonviolent resistance on a large scale."

"Meanwhile, the forces propelling change are confronting ruling elites; sectarian, ethnic, and tribal divisions; lack of experience with democracy; dependence on natural resource wealth; and regional power rivalries …This new regional environment poses challenges for U.S. strategic partnerships in the Arab world. However, we judge that Arab leaders will continue to cooperate with the United States on regional security to help check Iran's regional ambitions, and some will seek economic assistance."

"The unrest potentially provides terrorists inspired by the global jihadist movement more operating space, as security services focus more on internal security and, in some cases, undergo transformations in make-up and orientation. Ongoing unrest most likely would exacerbate public frustration, erosion of state power, and economic woes -- conditions that al Qaeda would work to exploit. The ongoing turmoil probably will cause at least a temporary setback to CT (counter-terrorism) efforts and might prove a longer-term impediment, if successor governments view violent Sunni extremism as a less immediate threat than did previous regimes."

On the Cyber Threat to the U.S.: Governments Can't Keep Up with Technology

In his testimony, Clapper notes that cyber threats are likely to increase in the coming years.

"We currently face a cyber environment where emerging technologies are developed and implemented faster than governments can keep pace, as illustrated by the failed efforts at censoring social media during the 2011 Arab Spring revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. Hacker groups, such as Anonymous and Lulz Security (LulzSec), have conducted distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and website defacements against government and corporate interests they oppose. The well publicized intrusions into NASDAQ and International Monetary Fund (IMF) networks underscore the vulnerability of key sectors of the U.S. and global economy."

The intelligence chief also notes that computer-espionage is becoming a greater concern with foreign services targeting classified networks that may not be detected.

"We assess that many intrusions into U.S. networks are not being detected. Although most activity detected to date has been targeted against unclassified networks connected to the Internet, foreign cyber actors have also begun targeting classified networks."

On Drinking Water Resources: Shortages, Floods Will Hurt U.S. National Security

During the next 10 years, water problems will contribute to instability in states important to U.S. national security interests.

Water shortages, poor water quality, and floods are unlikely to result in state failure. However, water problems combined with poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership, and weak political institutions contribute to social disruptions that can result in state failure.

Now and for the foreseeable future, water shortages and pollution probably will negatively affect the economic performance of important U.S. trading partners.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Al Qaeda Magazine Found in Guantanamo Cell, Prosecutor Says

John Moore/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- An issue of a terrorist magazine produced by an al Qaeda affiliate somehow made its way into a cell in Guantanamo Bay, supposedly one of the most secure detention centers in the world, a U.S. military prosecutor revealed Wednesday.

The disclosure was made during a pre-trial hearing for Adb al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the alleged mastermind behind the deadly bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. Seventeen American sailors were killed in the attack. Nashiri was captured in 2002.

Navy prosecutor Cmdr. Andrea Lockhart did not claim the magazine was al-Nashiri's but told a military judge Wednesday about the offending material while arguing over policies concerning mail screening between terror suspects and their attorneys. Lockhart did not say how or where exactly the magazine was discovered, nor did she say which issue of the magazine it was.

The English-language magazine, called Inspire, had been produced by al Qaeda's Yemen-based branch, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and was believed to have been put together by an American-born AQAP member named Samir Khan. The magazine, which spanned several issues, featured lectures from terror leaders as well as instructional guides for everything from how to shoot an AK-47 to "How to Build a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom."

In the magazine's last issue, which surfaced in September, Khan promised an upcoming interview with high-profile al Qeada cleric and recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki called "Targeting the Populations of Countries That Are at War With the Muslims." The promotional ad for the article used New York's Grand Central Station as a background.

But both Awlaki and Khan were killed in a drone strike just days after the announcement. No further issues of Inspire have apparently surfaced online since.

Al-Nashiri, believed to be one of al Qaeda's top commanders, was captured in 2002 but was in CIA custody, reportedly at a secret prison, until he was transferred to Guantanamo in 2006.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ex-US Soldier Charged with Aiding Al Qaeda Group

Hemera/Thinkstock(LAUREL, Md.) -- A former U.S. Army soldier and recent convert to Islam was charged Monday with attempting to join an al Qaeda-linked terrorist group in Somalia. The indictment of Craig Baxam, 24, comes just days after the Kenyan and British governments announced they were seeking several British citizens who had allegedly joined the same terror group, al Shabaab, and plotted attacks in Kenya.

Baxam, who appeared in federal court in Maryland, faces a charge of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist group. Authorities alleged that Baxam flew to Kenya with the intention of crossing into Somalia to join al Shabaab, which has been responsible for terror attacks in Somalia, Kenya and Uganda.

Baxam, from Laurel, Maryland, served four years in the Army before being discharged last July. In December, according to U.S. authorities, Baxam was arrested by Kenyan police in a small coastal town near the Somalia border. Baxam had already been to Somalia, according to the criminal complaint, and told federal agents that he had donated between $600 and $700 to al Shabaab.

Last week, the British government warned of al Shabaab attacks inside Kenya, and Kenyan authorities announced that they had arrested suspected terrorists and issued arrest warrants for others.

One of those wanted for suspected ties to terrorism is a British mother of three who converted to Islam. Kenyan police issued an arrest warrant on Jan. 4 for 26-year-old Natalie Faye Webb, alleging that Webb had links to known Shabaab terrorists. Kenyan police provided Kenyan media with a South African passport that they said Webb had used to enter the country in 2011.

According to London's Sunday Times, UK citizen and Muslim convert Jermaine Grant was arrested in Mombasa, Kenya, by Kenyan police. He was reportedly radicalized in the same UK prison as convicted "shoe bomber" Richard Reid. Bomb-making materials were allegedly found at Grant's home when he was arrested.

Al Shabaab, which means the "lads" in Arabic, has waged a decade-long insurgency inside Somalia and more recently has conducted attacks outside the lawless country. In 2010 an al Shabaab suicide attack killed more than 76 people in Kampala, Uganda.

The group recently announced that they were sending teams of attackers to the Kenyan capital of Nairobi in response to the recent Kenyan military incursion into southern Somalia.

British authorities have warned UK nationals in Kenya to be on guard after the Kenyan government alerted the public to an increased threat of attacks in Nairobi. The UK's Foreign Office said it urged Britons to "exercise extra vigilance and caution in public places."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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