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April 25, 2015 / 6 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Al Qaeda’

New York Jury Convicts Saudi Man in 1998 Al Qaeda Attack on US Embassy

Friday, February 27th, 2015

A New York City jury convicted Al Qaeda’s ‘minister of communications’ – Khaled al-Fawwaz – on charges of conspiring to kill Americans and destroy U.S. property. The verdict was handed down in a federal district courtroom on Thursday, Feb. 26.

The Saudi Arabian national was the deputy to the late terror chief Osama Bin Laden for nearly a decade, spreading his message to the West.

But he pleaded not guilty and claimed he was not a member of Al Qaeda, saying he does not condone violence. The prosecution accused Fawwaz of creating a media office in London to disseminate Bin Laden’s messages and faciliate communications between Al Qaeda members.

Fawwaz was convicted Thursday in a U.S. federal court on charges of participating in a conspiracy that led to the 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in East Africa.

“The defendant worked for years directly and personally with Osama Bin Laden,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Lewis said during his opening argument, the Wall Street Journal reported last month. The messages he helped disseminate included declarations of war that called for Muslims to kill Americans anywhere in the world.

The evidence presented to the juror included printed copies of an Al Qaeda declaration of war – taken from a search of Fawwaz’s home in London – signed by Bin Laden, and floppy disks of drafts of the same message.

Lewin said the 52-year-old Saudi terrorist also helped lay the groundwork for attacks in Kenya and Tanzania that left 224 people dead and more wounded.

Arguing for the defense, Bobbi Sterheim argued that Fawwaz kept the incriminating evidence in his home in order to stay informed of “both sides of the aisle.”

Bin Laden’s son-in-law, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, and Egyptian-born British cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri were both also convicted on similar terrorism charges in the past year as well. Both were sentenced to life in prison, with juries having deliberated for less than two days before reaching a verdict in each trial.

Wednesday’s verdict was seen as a victory for Washington’s efforts to prosecute suspected terrorists in civilian courts.

Mall of America Shoppers Told ‘Stay Vigilant’ After Video Call for Terror

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

The largest shopping center in the United States — the Mall of America — could be the next target of an attack by al-Shabaab, the Somali affiliate of Al Qaeda. The building has more than a dozen entrances and covers at least 80 acres of land.

Security personnel conducted a “lockdown drill” at 10 am local time and have planned a second one for later in the day. Other security measures – “seen and unseen” – have been put into place as well, officials said.

The moves came in response to a video call for jihad released by the group this past weekend.

The group used the video to recruit Western “Muslim brethren” to hit the Mall of America and shopping centers in Canada and the UK.

In 2013, 67 people died when the group staged a four-day siege at a shopping mall in Nairobi.

Department of Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson told news media on Monday that shoppers are “being warned to remain extra vigilant while shopping.” Calls for jihad are being issued via the Internet, videos and through various publications, he pointed out.

Officials at the shopping center, considered the largest mall in the United States, said, “At this time there is no credible threat associated with the Mall of America. We will continue to work together at all levels to evaluate this and other information with the authorities.”

White House spokesperson Josh Earnest told reporters at a briefing also on Monday the intelligence community is “not aware” of any current plot to attack the Mall of America.

Minnesota is home to the largest Somali immigrant community in the United States. According to Fox News, at least 15 members of that community left last year to join Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organization.

Canadian Jewish Developer Tightens Mall Security After Al Qaeda Call to Jihad

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

A Canadian-based business family is not waiting for a terror attack before tightening security: the Ghermezian Brothers have already taken measures to prevent an attack. The four brothers – Eskandar, Nader, Raphael and Bahman – own a construction and real estate empire in addition to the shopping malls developed by the family patriarch, Jacob Ghermezian, who died in 2000.

The preparations came in response to a call to jihad against “American and Jewish-owned” shopping malls made in a video by the Al Qaeda-linked Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab over the weekend.

The Jewish Iranian-Canadian family is known for having developed some of the world’s largest shopping malls, and is no stranger to the need for security; its West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada has already put security measures into place to prevent an attack.

Edmonton Deputy Police Chief Brian Simpson told CTV News, “West Edmonton mall is very safe; I also feel that this community is very safe,” Jewish Business News reported.

In Bloomington, Minnesota, the family’s Mall of America stands out as the largest shopping mall in the United States – which made it one of the top targets for al-Shabaab. The terror group even provided the coordinates for its “Muslim brethren” in the West to more easily be able to find the shopping mall, in order to be able to attack it.

Al Qaeda-Linked Al-Shabaab Calls for Attacks on ‘Jewish-Owned’ Malls in UK, Canada & USA

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

The Somali al-Shabaab terror group linked to Al Qaeda has called on Muslims in the West to “answer the call” and attack “American and Jewish-owned” shopping malls in the UK, US and Canada.

In the 77-minute video the speaker, whose face was covered, said, “We call upon our Muslim brothers, particularly those in the West, to answer the call of Allah and target the disbelievers wherever they are,” said a speaker wearing a military jacket, face covered.

Suggesting the Mall of America – the largest mall in the United States – the speaker displayed coordinates for the site on the screen. The “twin cities” of S. Paul and Minneapolis are home to the largest population of Somali immigrants in the U.S. More than a few are known to have traveled from there to the Mideast and Africa to fight with radical Islamist terrorists.

The threat has become a raison d’etre for America’s Department of Homeland Security, which was slated for shutdown this week.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said Sunday that the propaganda video released Saturday by al-Shabaab, made clear “why I need a budget.” The video also called for attacks on Oxford Street in London and two Westfield Malls in Stratford and White City as well as Canada’s West Edmonton Mall in Alberta – the largest shopping mall in North America.

In an interview over the weekend on CNN, Johnson said “It’s absurd that we’re even having this conversation about Congress’s inability to fund homeland security in these challenging times.”

Taliban Ready for Peace Process with Obama

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

A senior Pakistani official said Thursday that Taliban is prepared to open peace talks with the United States with the first rounds of talks today and Friday in Qatar.

Back in 2002, peace talks between the Bush administration and Taliban ended without any results, one year after the United States invaded Afghanistan as part of its war on terror.

Pakistan’s military chief of staff told Afghan leaders that Taliban is prepared for a sudden shift in policy, which also would signal a change for the Pakistani military that is considered to be behind  Taliban.

The peace overture is not official and needs a wider agreement among Pakistani officials and the  approval of Taliban’s spiritual leaders Mullah Mohammed Omar.

One factor working help compel the military to change course and go with a peace overture is last December’s savage Taliban attack against children in a school, which evoked shock among citizens and more suspicion of the military’s involvement with Taliban.

Using Qatar as the host to talk peace is interesting since it backs Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and perhaps can convince Obama that they represent Islam and not those “who have perverted Islam.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said last month that Taliban is an “”armed insurgency” and not a terrorist group.

Earnest said, as heard and seen in the video below:

It is important to draw a distinction between the Taliban and al Qaeda. The Taliban has resorted to terror tactics, but those terror tactics have principally been focused on Afghanistan.

They do carry out tactics that are akin to terrorism, they do pursue terror attacks in an effort to try to advance their agenda.

The State Department does not include Taliban on its list of foreign terrorist organizations, while the Treasury Department defines it as a group of  “specially designated global terrorists.”

Earnest explained that the Treasury Dept.’s designation means the United States can impose financial sanctions against Taliban’s leaders.

Syrian Rebels Ask Israel to Bomb Hezbollah

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Unnamed Israeli officials have confirmed that Syrian rebels have asked the Netanyahu government to bomb Hezbollah and Iranian positions, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Israel seems to be doing a job of doing so all by itself, but the rebels want the IDF to take a more active role. Israel never has admitted or denied several pre-emptive aerial bombings of weapons and Hezbollah positions.

The Observatory said that Assad, Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guards have launched an offense to counter rebel attacks near Damascus.

“Regime troops and their Hezbollah-led allies are advancing in the area linking Deraa, Quneitra and Damascus provinces,” the Syrian Observatory said.

Rebels have lost most of northern and eastern Syria to the Islamic State and the Al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front. Hezbollah has taken over most of western Syria, bordering Lebanon.

That leaves the south as the rebels’ last stronghold.

“The rebels in the south comprise a diverse array of fighters,” analyst Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi of the Middle East Forum told Voice of America.

Obama Asks Congress to Declare War on Islamic State

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

President Barack Obama has asked Congress for authorization to declare war on Islamic State with a limit of three years but no limit on geographical boundaries.

It took him more than four months since the Islamic State executed American hostage James Foley to ask for an official declaration of war.

If Congress approves the request, it will be the first time the United States goes to war against an organization and not a country.

The proposed authorization for military force against the Islamic State would:

Target the Islamic State and associated persons or forces, defined as those fighting with the Islamic State “in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners;”

Provide no geographic limits on the battle;

Limit ground troops by banning “enduring offensive ground combat operations;” and

Expire after three years unless renewed by Congress.

The authorization also would do away with the Congressional approval from 2002 for military force in Iraq. The president said in his letter to Congress that he hopes to be able to repeal the same authorization on which he has been relying for military operations force against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

President Obama composed his letter with explanations, each one beginning with “whereas,” to define the ISIS as an enemy threat to the United States.

He declared that the Islamic State, which he referred to as ISIL for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant , “poses a grave threat to the people and territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria, regional stability, and the national security interests of the United States and its allies and partners.”

He pointed out that the Islamic State, more commonly known as ISIS, “holds significant territory in Iraq and Syria and has stated its intention to seize more territory and demonstrated the capability to do so” and that its leaders have stated intentions to attack the United States.

His fourth “whereas” appeared to be designed to further his premise that ISIS is not a part of Islam. He stated:

Whereas ISIL has committed despicable acts of violence and mass executions against Muslims, regardless of sect, who do not subscribe to ISIL’s depraved, violent, and oppressive ideology;

Whereas ISIL has threatened genocide and committed vicious acts of violence against religious and ethnic minority groups, including Iraqi Christian, Yezidi, and Turkmen populations;

President Obama seems to be afraid that Muslim countries will think that he wants to wage war against radical Islam, which would get him in a lot of trouble in certain Middle East countries that do not behead people willy-nilly but also do not tolerate anyone who does not obey Islamic law.

His carefully crafted letter, having stated that the ISIS is supposedly anti-Muslim, focused on the Islamic State’s “horrific acts of violence” that included “the deaths of [four] innocent United States citizens.”

Obama then brought the international community under the umbrella of a global alliance and noted the announcement last September at a NATO Summit “that ISIL poses a serious threat and should be countered by a broad international coalition.”

Congress is not totally happy with the idea, and Obama tried to make it easier to obtain authorization by writing:

The authority granted in subsection (a) does not authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces in enduring offensive ground combat operations.

The obvious problem with the language is the word “enduring,” something Congressmen will have to thrash out in discussions on the request for war on ISIS.

President Obama put the ball in Congress’ court and implied it is will bear the price if it does not declare war on ISIS.

He wrote.

If left unchecked, ISIL will pose a threat beyond the Middle East, including to the United States homeland.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-asks-congress-to-declare-war-on-islamic-state/2015/02/11/

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