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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Qaeda’

Alerts Came after US Intercepted Al Qaeda Conference Call

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

The crucial intercept that prompted the U.S. government to close embassies in 22 countries was a conference call between al Qaeda’s senior leaders and representatives of several of the group’s affiliates throughout the region, the Daily Beast reports.

U.S. intelligence was afforded a rare glimpse into the communication between al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and the organization’s affiliates in Africa, the Middle East, and southwest and southeast Asia.

The Daily Beast has learned that the discussion between the two al Qaeda leaders happened in a conference call that included more than 20 al Qaeda operatives.

The Al Qaeda members included representatives or leaders from Nigeria’s Boko Haram, the Pakistani Taliban, al Qaeda in Iraq, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the Uzbekistan branch and al Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula.

“This was like a meeting of the Legion of Doom,” one U.S. intelligence officer told The Daily Beast.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said, “This may punch a sizable hole in the theory that al Qaeda is on the run.”

“The core seems to be able to able to reconstitute itself. The core also seems to be able to coordinate and manage the affiliates,” the senator added. “There was a gross underestimation by this administration of al Qaeda’s overall ability to replenish itself.”

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

PA Wants To Sue Israel For War Crimes

Fresh from securing non-member observer state status at the United Nations, the Palestinian Authority is now consulting European lawyers about how to sue Israel at the International Criminal Court, this column has learned.

According to informed Middle Eastern security sources, the threat of action at the ICC could be used as a bargaining chip against Israel during any future negotiations.

In 2009, a UN fact finding team led by South African judge Richard Goldstone accused both the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. The report warned that if both sides did not investigate their conduct the allegations could be brought to the ICC.

In April 2011, Goldstone retracted his report’s claim that it was Israeli government policy to deliberately target citizens.

The IDF routinely drops warning leaflets and even leaves voicemail messages in areas where it may carry out operations. The Israeli army is notorious for the care it takes to ensure against civilian casualties.

Hamas, on the other hand, has been widely condemned for its use of civilians as human shields. The terror group has fired hundreds of rockets from Gaza into Jewish cities and operates from densely populated zones in Gaza.

Hamas Coordinating With Al Qaeda Groups

Hamas has formed a common committee with al Qaeda-linked groups in the Gaza Strip to strategize the coordination of infiltrating weapons into Gaza, according to informed Israeli security sources.

The sources noted that after Israel’s campaign in Gaza two weeks ago – which ended with a U.S. and Egypt-brokered cease fire – Hamas immediately freed from its jails scores of members of al Qaeda and the related Jihadiya Salafiya terrorist groups.

Previously, Hamas had been fighting those same groups in Gaza, seeing them as a challenge to their own rule. The groups had accused Hamas of selling out by talking to the West and by engaging in elections. Hamas had even engaged several times in heavy fire clashes with the Islamist organizations in Gaza and put many of their leaders in prison.

Still, Hamas and the al Qaeda organizations have at times worked together, including during the most recent round of fighting in Gaza where both fired rockets into Israel. Now, Hamas and the al Qaeda groups are working together again, this time to smuggle more weapons into Gaza, said the security sources.

This column reported that even before Israel’s operation in Gaza ended two weeks ago, Iran and Hizbullah were trying to resupply Hamas with more long-range missiles to fire into Israel, according to Israeli defense sources.

Benghazi Served As Headquarters For Aiding Syrian Rebels

New information provided to this reporter by knowledgeable Middle Eastern security sources indicates the U.S. mission and CIA annex in Benghazi were the central headquarters for the coordination of aid to the al Qaeda-saturated rebels fighting in Libya and Syria.

KleinOnline was the first to report that the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi actually served as a meeting place to coordinate aid for rebel-led insurgencies in the Middle East. In September, KleinOnline further reported that assassinated Ambassador Christopher Stevens himself played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, according to Egyptian security officials.

Now, Middle Eastern security sources are describing both the U.S. mission and nearby CIA annex in Benghazi as the main intelligence and planning center for U.S. aid to rebels that was being coordinated with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. Many rebel fighters are openly members of terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda.

The new information comes as defense author Tom Ricks made headlines for claiming on Fox News that the cable news network was hyping the events in Benghazi as a partisan attack on President Obama. “I think that Benghazi generally was hyped, by this network especially, and that now that the campaign is over, I think he’s backing off a little bit,” said Ricks.

The author was referring to Sen. John McCain’s opposition to the possible promotion of UN Ambassador Susan Rice to secretary of state.

Ricks went on claim Fox News was “operating as a wing of Republican Party.”

Popular Radio Host Calls Obama Bashing ‘Boring’

Radio host Michael Savage warned that many conservatives on air are “committing suicide” by incessantly criticizing Barack Obama.

“Many people on the conservative side of the dial are making the same mistakes now that the liberals made when Bush was in power,” Savage told “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on WABC Radio in New York.

“[Radio America] went bankrupt, why? Because all they did was…Bush bashing, and they were just crazy in the Bush bashing. Boring, boring. How much could you listen to [it]? It wasn’t even clever Bush bashing.

“This is what’s going on now with the conservatives,” Savage continued. “They’re committing suicide. Just attacking Obama – although he deserves it – is not good radio.”

Savage explained, “At the end of the day, Aaron, it’s like a good teacher. Who were your best professors? They were the ones who could get up and tell you a story and make you smile and in the midst of it teach you something.

“Remember one thing,” Savage stated, “radio is primarily an entertainment medium. It was not created to be the voice of the Republican Party or the Democrat Party.”

Savage, who is also a bestselling author, appeared on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” to celebrate joining the WABC lineup and tout his new book, Train Tracks: Family Stories for the Holidays.

Three US Jews Still Held Hostage Overseas

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

“There are, I think, almost 3,000 Americans in foreign jails. Almost all of them are in there for doing something.”

That is the assessment given to JNS.org by U.S. Rep. Bob Turner (R-NY), a leading advocate for the freedom of 53-year-old Brooklyn flooring contractor Jacob Ostreicher – who, according to his supporters, is wrongly imprisoned in Bolivia and therefore falls outside the “almost 3,000 Americans” cited by Turner.

Ostreicher’s situation is one of three high-profile cases of American Jews overseas who remain either controversially imprisoned or held hostage.

In early October, lawyers for 63-year-old Alan Gross, a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) contractor imprisoned in Cuba since December 2009 for trying to bring that country’s Jewish community Internet access, announced that a doctor who reviewed Gross’s medical records found a tumor in his right shoulder that may be cancerous. The tumor is a “potentially life-threatening medical problem that has not been adequately evaluated to modern medical standards” by Cuban doctors, according to Dr. Alan A. Cohen.

Alan Gross in Jerusalem with wife Judy.

Since that revelation, Cuba has been “surprisingly quiet in response, and I say surprisingly because typically they tend to be very aggressive at responding to claims about Alan’s situation, and I think the detailed nature of Dr. Cohen’s assessment has flummoxed them and they’re not quite sure how they can respond,” said Gross lawyer Jared Genser.

Gross, who lived in Potomac, Md., received a 15-year prison sentence even though he was working with “peaceful, non-dissident, Jewish groups” in Cuba, according to the U.S. Cuba convicted him of “crimes against the state.”

In August, Gross’s lawyers filed a petition asking the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to conclude that Cuba had violated Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) – a treaty that guarantees freedom of expression and the rights to receive and disseminate information freely through any media of choice – by imprisoning Gross.

Cuba “didn’t point to anything [Gross] did beyond provide publicly available computer equipment to Jewish communities down in Cuba, and that falls squarely within the protections for article 19 of the ICCPR,” Genser said, making his ongoing detention “a flagrant violation of Cuba’s obligations of international law.”

Cuba has 60 days to respond to the UN petition. Gross’s team is expecting the UN arbitrary detention working group to hear the case in mid-November and to issue an opinion in mid-December. The group’s opinions are not binding under international law and there is no enforcement provision that could compel Cuba to comply, but Genser said a ruling in Gross’s favor could still be a significant step.

On Capitol Hill, the push for Gross’s freedom received broad bipartisan support in September, with 44 U.S. senators signing a letter to Cuban President Raul Castro asking for Gross’s release.

Ultimately, said Genser, it needs to be “the president and the secretary of state who are going to resolve this case, and my hope is that regardless of who wins the election on Nov. 6, that either President Obama or a president-elect Romney will be in position to make a new set of moves toward the government of Cuba after the election is over.”

* * *

Jacob Ostreicher traveled to Bolivia in December 2010 to oversee rice production and was arrested in June 2011 on suspicion of money laundering and criminal organization. No formal charges have ever been brought against him.

On Aug. 31 this year, Ostreicher was denied bail. Congressman Turner, who represents the section of Brooklyn where Ostreicher lived, explained in a phone interview that according to Bolivian law, “you have to be charged within an 18-month period.”

Turner and U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) are among the consistent advocates for Ostreicher’s cause. The problem, according to Turner, lies within the U.S. State Department, whose involvement, he said, was limited by virtue of being “bound by their own rules.”

Despite the “preponderance of evidence” showing Ostreicher’s innocence, Turner said that State Department officials have “their own bureaucratic procedures” and “don’t want to get out of their comfort zone.”

“They respect Bolivian law even when the Bolivians are not following it,” Turner said. “I think this is a time for outrage and not following bureaucratic procedures. It’s as simple as that.”

Heartbreaking: Kidnapped US Jew Appealing to Netanyahu (Video)

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Warren Weinstein, 71, is an American aid worker who was kidnapped more than a year ago in Pakistan. Now he is asking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for help in his release by acquiescing to al-Qaeda’s demands.

In a video released by Weinstein’s kidnappers on Wednesday, he says that U.S. President Barack Obama and the American government “have shown no interest in my case,” and appeals to Netanyahu for help “as one Jew to another.”

Weinstein does not say what the demands are, but in the past al-Qaeda’s conditions for his release included the freeing of terrorist and stopping U.S. air strikes.

It is not clear, however, how Netanyahu would go about ending those strikes or about releasing terrorists not held in Israel.

In the video, posted on the Internet by al-Qaeda’s media arm, Al-Sahab (it opens with its logo), Weinstein is wearing a white T-shirt, sitting in front of a camouflage background.

Weinstein was kidnapped in August, 2011, Lahore, Pakistan, by gunmen who broke into his home. He was the Pakistan director of J.E. Austin Associates, a U.S.-based firm consulting Pakistani business and government concerns.

Al-Qaeda’s earlier video, released last December, demanded the U.S. stop its air strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, and release all al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists around the world, in return for Weinstein’s release.

In a video released last May, Weinstein reiterated that he would be killed if President Obama didn’t agree to those demands.

Al Qaeda in Spain

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Three suspected al Qaeda terrorists arrested in Spain in early August were allegedly plotting an airborne attack on a shopping mall near Gibraltar, the British overseas territory on the southernmost tip of Spain.

In recent weeks, the Obama Administration has claimed that al Qaeda “is on a path of decline that will be difficult to reverse” and the US State Department has even declared that the “war on terror is over.” Advisors to President Obama have also boasted of “the end of al Qaeda in any meaningful sense of the word.”

The arrests in Spain, however, indicate that al Qaeda continues to pose a serious threat and that Obama’s triumphalism may be premature. Jorge Fernández Díaz, the Spanish interior minister, put it this way: “The terrorist organization al Qaeda represents a major threat globally and in particular to the entire Western world.”

Spanish counter-terrorism officials say an attack near Gibraltar, home to 30,000 British citizens, was likely intended to coincide with the London Olympic Games, and would have been a more feasible alternative to attempting an act of terrorism in the heart of London.

In addition to Gibraltar, the suspects were credibly also plotting to attack the joint US-Spanish naval base at Rota, strategically located near the Strait of Gibraltar.

The foiled plot shows, among other revelations, that, contradicting the claims of some within the Obama administration that al Qaeda and its offshoots are dead, al Qaeda and its affiliated organizations continue to pose a threat to Europe and the United States.

Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz has called the case “one of the biggest investigations carried out until now against the al Qaeda terrorist group at an international level.” At a news conference in Madrid, he said the three men “have experience in the development of chemical explosives, manufacture of car bombs, handling of poisons, and sniper training,” and that together they constitute one of the most skilled and experienced terrorist cells seen in recent years.

The suspects involve two Chechen-Russians named Eldar Magomedov (also known as Ahmad Avar) and Mohammed Ankari Adamov, both of whom were arrested on August 1 on a bus near Almuradiel, a town situated halfway between Spain’s southern coast and Madrid.

The third suspect, a Turkish national named Cengiz Yalcin, was arrested on August 2 in the province of Cádiz, near Gibraltar.

Police say the two Chechens “resisted fiercely” and hid their true identity after they were arrested; they claimed they were in Spain to apply for political asylum, but Spanish authorities established their real names after obtaining help from American and Russian intelligence agencies.

Magomedov, the suspected leader of the cell and a former member of Spetsnaz (Russian Special Forces), has training as a sniper and is an expert in poisons. After leaving Spetsnaz, according to the Spanish Interior Ministry, Magomedov joined training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including camps run by the Pakistani militant group and al Qaeda ally, Lashkar-e-Taiba. Police say that before his arrest, Magomedov had been living in Spain for two months.

Adamov, the other Chechen, received “intensive training in the camps of Afghanistan where he became an expert in managing explosives,” according to Spanish officials. He is also believed to have been involved in the January 2011 bomb attack at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, a strike that killed at least 35 people and injured more than 100, many critically.

Yalcin, the Turk, who police believe was in charge of managing logistics for the cell, had been living legally for the past six years in a Spanish town that borders Gibraltar, La Línea de la Concepción, where he worked as a site manager for Profield Contractors, a local construction company. A police raid of Yalcin’s apartment yielded enough explosives “to blow up a bus,” three motorized paragliders, and a video in which Yalcin is filmed flying a large remote-controlled model airplane.

Spanish investigators suspect the cell was testing a remote-controlled airplane as a potential bomber. The video footage showed the aircraft – about three meters, or nine feet, long — being maneuvered into a descent during which two packages were dropped from both wings of the airplane.

Jihadi Tourism Hits Europe

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Increasing numbers of Muslims in Europe are travelling to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and other conflict zones to obtain training in terrorist methods.

Although intelligence agencies have been following the trend since the July 2005 bombings of the London commuter system, which were perpetrated by four home-grown Islamic terrorists, the scale of the problem has come into greater focus in recent weeks.

European security officials are especially concerned about reports that al-Qaeda is recruiting and training Western operatives who have “clean” criminal records and have the ability to travel freely and blend in with European and American cultures.

In Norway, for example, an ethnic Norwegian convert to militant Islam who has received terrorist training from al-Qaeda’s offshoot in Yemen, is awaiting orders to carry out an attack on the West, officials from three European security agencies said on June 25.

European officials have confirmed that the man is “operational,” meaning he has completed his training and is about to receive a target. Although the terrorist-in-waiting is believed to still be in Yemen, even if he is found he cannot be extradited: under Norwegian law it is not a crime to attend a terrorist training camp.

The London-based newspaper Sunday Times, quoting intelligence services, published a story on July 1 that said the Norwegian jihadist had been trained by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula [AQAP] to evade airport security and is plotting to hijack an American passenger plane and, in a suicide mission, crash it. The newspaper portrayed the plot as an attack on the upcoming London Olympics, to be held from July 27 to August 12, but said the target was specifically supposed to be an American aircraft.

The paper described the recruit as being a Norwegian citizen in his 30s, with no immigrant background, but who calls himself Abu Abdulrahman. The man, who converted to Islam in 2008, has apparently in recent months been undergoing training at AQAP bases in Yemen.

According to a detailed report in the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, on July 5, the individual is a 33-year-old Norwegian who, in his youth, was associated with Oslo’s far-left Blitz movement. Despite his one-time radical credentials, he later worked as a babysitter at a daycare center in Oslo, the city where he was born and raised. He did not have a history of violence, the paper said.

Dagbladet went on to report that eventually he became a member of the Green Party; a source close to the suspect said that, after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, he had come to be viewed as an easily-influenced conspiracy theorist.

His ideological priorities shifted, according to the paper, after he married the daughter of a diplomat from an unspecified North African country. In 2008, he converted to Islam and underwent a change of lifestyle: he gave up alcohol and broke off almost all contact with his earlier friends. The newspaper stated that he recently became a father, and that his wife had travelled to her home country with their child.

Jonathan Evans, the head of MI5, Britain’s domestic security service, recently provided important context to the threat posed by would-be jihadists. In a rare public address on June 25, Evans said the Olympic Games in London “present an attractive target for our enemies and they will be at the center of the world’s attention in a month or so. No doubt some terrorist networks have thought about whether they could pull off an attack.”

“In back rooms and in cars and on the streets of this country there is no shortage of individuals talking about wanting to mount terrorist attacks here,” Evans continued. “It is essential that we maintain pressure on al-Qaeda.”

Evans also said that al-Qaeda militants are using the countries which toppled their leaders in the Arab Spring as bases to train radical Western youths for potential attacks on Britain: “This is the completion of a cycle. Al-Qaida first moved to Afghanistan in the 1990s due to pressure in their Arab countries of origin. They moved on to Pakistan after the fall of the Taliban. And now some are heading home to the Arab world again.”

“Today,” Evans added, “parts of the Arab world have once more become a permissive environment for al-Qaeda. A small number of British would-be jihadis are also making their way to Arab countries to seek training and opportunities for militant activity, as they do in Somalia and Yemen. Some will return to the UK and pose a threat here. This is a new and worrying development and could get worse.”

Israel Preparing for al-Qaeda on its Borders

Monday, July 16th, 2012

As the Middle East continues to be rocked by instability and the old regional order crumbles, Israeli security forces are preparing for an increased al-Qaeda presence along the country’s borders. The past decade has shown that the al-Qaeda network thrives in failed states, setting down roots in areas where central governments no longer exercise a clear monopoly of arms or jurisdiction. From Pakistan to Iraq to Mali, adherents of the global jihadi movement are seeking a safe haven to set up training camps, plot terror attacks, and spread their fundamentalist ideology.

In Israel’s neighborhood, at least two local regions are prime al-Qaeda growth areas: Syria, which is in the midst of a full-blown civil war, and Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, a partially lawless desert province where local Bedouin tribes enjoy more power than Egyptian security forces.

In both areas, all indications suggest that al-Qaeda-affiliated forces are setting up shop.

In Syria, jihadi fighters are pouring in from neighboring countries such as Iraq (thereby reversing the traffic flow of al-Qaeda fighters a decade ago). They are mixing with local recruits to form terror cells in Syria; these have imported Iraqi-style roadside bombings on the Syrian army and vehicle bomb attacks on Syrian government installations.

The Free Syrian Army routinely denies the presence of al-Qaeda elements in Syria; admitting otherwise would serve the propaganda efforts of the embattled Assad regime.

The Syrian regime is keen on presenting all Syrian rebels as fanatical jihadis. Despite the politicized accusations by the regime and denials by the rebels, al-Qaeda is gradually establishing itself in Syria; the Israel Defense Force assumes that sooner or later the jihadis will turn their sights on Israel.

The IDF’s Northern command recently took journalists on a tour of the Golan Heights and presented a few of the preparations underway by the Israeli military to ensure readiness for the new threat.

Despite Syria’s hostility to Israel and its rhetorical and logistical support for the largest terrorist organization in the Middle East, Hizbullah, the border between Syria and Israel has been free of hostile action since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Now, however, as Damascus loses sovereignty and jihadis gain room to maneuver in Syria, this may change. Possible threats include bomb and shooting attacks on the border, and the possibility of rocket fire into northern Israel.

Meanwhile, in the south, al-Qaeda’s presence in Sinai is already well-established. Last month, global jihadi terrorists attacked an Israeli Ministry of Defense border construction crew erecting a barrier on the border between Egypt and Israel. The attack claimed the life of a crew member. The terror cell was quickly met by an IDF unit, which shot dead two members, as other terrorists retreated into the sand dunes on the Egyptian side of the border.

The terror cell, exploiting weapons that are hidden in caches in Sinai, used a combination of explosives, a rocket-propelled grenade, and machine guns. Some of the weapons were, and are, entering the area from Libya.

A Sinai-based al-Qaeda-affiliated organization, saying it was behind the incident, released a video on YouTube (since removed); it featured several masked men standing in front of a global jihad flag. Two of them identified themselves as Saudi and Egyptian nationals.

“To the Jews, enemies of God, know you infidels that what is coming is different from what came until now,” one of the masked men said.

The presence of global jihadi fighters in Sinai is made more complex by the network’s having members operating in the neighboring Gaza Strip, ruled by the Hamas regime.

It is easy to imagine how one attack can set off a wider conflict, as occurred in June, after the border attack, when the Israel Air Force bombed an al-Qaeda mastermind in Gaza. In response, Hamas fired over 160 rockets into southern Israel, a reaction that prompted further Israeli airstrikes on Hamas targets.

Hamas, for its part, has no problem with al-Qaeda launching attacks on Israel from Sinai, but it does have a problem with al-Qaeda challenging its rule in Gaza. In 2009, Hamas ruthlessly enforced its jurisdiction in Gaza, sending hundreds of gunmen to the south of the Strip to put down an al-Qaeda inspired movement that challenged Hamas rule .

Bomb Plotter Was U.S. Informer, Al Qaeda Renewing Efforts against US

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

The WSJ today reported that the bomber whose plot to blow up a jetliner was foiled was a double agent, providing “vital information” to U.S. and Arab intelligence agencies, this according to officials who celebrated a successful infiltration of al Qaeda’s “most dangerous branch.”

The news came one day after the Central Intelligence Agency, working with foreign security services, had foiled a bomb plot by al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch to bring down a U.S. jetliner with an advanced version of the underwear bomb used in the 2009 Christmas Day failed attempt.

The newest plot offers a freighting illustration of al Qaeda’s ability to learn from past mistakes, as the bomb that was found had two detonators, one being a crucial backup in case the other failed, according to a U.S. official.

The double agent was given the bomb and instructions for carrying out the attack, but instead of following his directions, after he left Yemen he contacted intelligence authorities, and turned over the bomb and fresh intelligence about al Qaeda.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/bomb-plotter-was-u-s-informer-al-qaeda-renewing-efforts-against-us/2012/05/09/

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