Posts Tagged ‘Arabian Peninsula’

Alert: Al-Qaida bombmaker in Yemen instills fear in counterterrorists globally

by Jim Kouri on Monday, July 7th, 2014

This is article 773 of 805 in the topic Terrorism

Counterterrorists throughout the world including the United States are concerned with two developments within the Islamic jihad: new explosive ordinance that defies airport security scanners and the Yemeni al-Qaida man, Ibrahim Al Asiri, with the expertise to create horrific improvised explosive devices (IEDs), according to reports on Friday.

The U.S. State Department and the Department of Homeland Security issued travelers warnings for those civilians flying to the U.S. from airports in Europe and the Middle East. The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) also announced that there will be enhanced airport scanning procedures since intelligence analysts warned the Obama administration about this latest threat.

Terrorism experts, such a former anti-terrorism unit member Det. Michael M. Snopes, say that their primary suspect in this new threat is Ibrahim Al Asiri, a 32-year-old Saudi said to be hiding out with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen’s southern provinces.

“President Barack Obama and his news media sycophants call tell Americans that al-Qaida is ‘on the run’ till they’re blue in the face; that doesn’t change the reality of Muslim terrorists continuing their global jihad,” said former police anti-terrorism unit member, Thomas McHughes.

Regardless of pronouncements by President Obama and his national security team downplaying the global treat — which includes the United States and its overseas interests — posed by the Islamist terrorism organization known as al-Qaida, a newUnited Nations report released to Middle East news agencies and publications on Friday claims that besides the Iraqi insurrection, terrorist-linked unrest in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Somalia, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Saudi Arabia’s next-door neighbor Yemen is growing in intensity.

The UN Security Council report as covered by news organizations on Friday claims that al-Qaida remains a major challenge to the peaceful transition stage in Yemen. In recent years, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has become arguably the more dangerous terrorist group than the original al-Qaida led by Osama bin Laden until his 2011 death at the hands of U.S. Navy Seals. AQAP (which Yemenis simply call al-Qaida) branched outfrom bin Laden’s al-Qaida group and but it still maintains an ideology based on bin Laden’s extremist form of Sunni Islam.

AQAP retained its name when it re-grouped in Yemen, being joined at the hip with the local al-Qaida organization already operating there. In Yemen, AQAP presents a powerful alternative to that country’s weak central government. Eventually AQAP became almost totally independent of the original al-Qaida, although it still follows the instructions of bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahri.

The Security Council stressed in their report that the adoption by Yemen of a national counterterrorism law and the development of the national counterterrorism policy is paramount to achieving a peaceful transition to a secular, democratic government.

While President Barack Obama’s administration had ordered the training mission in Yemen to be suspended due to the political turmoil in that nation, the U.S. recently increased the number of military and police trainers into the country, according to anExaminer news story. The U.S. military and Central Intelligence Agency also re-introduced unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks on terrorist targets.

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Al-Qaida attacks national security agency headquarters in Yemen

by Jim Kouri on Sunday, May 4th, 2014

This is article 752 of 805 in the topic Terrorism

An automobile containing an improvised explosive device (IED) slammed into Yemen’s National Security Agency in southeastern Yemen on Saturday and exploded. However, according to reports, there were no deaths or casualties.

A police counterterrorism unit member, Harold Chapner, said that Yemeni security officials are blaming al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) for the suicide bomb attack.

About 30-minutes later, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) exploded on the ground in the same area but this time there were armored vehicles and soldiers trying to secure the neighborhood after the original IED blast.

Following the car bomb and grenade attack, police officers shutdown the roads surround the intelligence headquarters and ambulances were on the scene as a precaution, Chapner said.

Earlier this week, troops from Yemen’s security forces initiated a major offensive with more than 2,000 soldiers and security personnel against several AQAP strongholds in Yemen’s southern provinces.

The Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, a/k/a locally as Ansar al-Sharia or Partisans of Islamic Law, sent the military and police commanding officers a message “advising” them not to target al-Qaida or they will face more terrorist attacks in retaliation.

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Al-Qaeda kills soldiers during attack on Yemeni military base

by Jim Kouri on Friday, April 4th, 2014

This is article 738 of 805 in the topic Terrorism

Ten suspects and six Yemeni soldiers died during a terrorist attack on the main military installation in the city of Aden on Wednesday, April 2, 2013, according to Theresa Belgrave, a former police intelligence analyst specializing in Muslim terrorism, and according to Reuters and other news sources.

Police officials believe the suicide bombing followed by shootings were the work of the Islamist group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and that it was similar to previous attacks on police stationhouses and military installations by the al-Qaeda branch, as reported by the Examiner.

In December 2013, al-Qaeda members attacked the Defense Ministry building in the capital city of Sanaa. Also, in February, a police chief was assassinated by unknown killers in Yemen’s southern city of Aden on Wednesday night, according to an American public safety and security expert, James Campbell. Yemeni law enforcement believe the perpetrators are members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, according to an Examiner news story.

Yemen’s Saba news reported that al-Qaeda terrorists launched a sneak attack on the country’s Fourth Division army headquarters in Aden’s following a car bomb blast near the installation’s main security gate.

The Saba news website also reported that a 10-year-old boy died and four civilians were wounded by a mortar shell that missed its target the battle between the army and the terrorists.

Yemen, an ally of the United States in the Global War on Terrorism, shares the Arabian Peninsula with top global oil producer Saudi Arabia. It has been battling AQAP for six years. Most of AQAP’s attacks have involved police stations, military checkpoints and bases, and government officials and installations, according to Examiner news stories.

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Gunmen shoot and wound 3 Saudi Arabian cops

by Jim Kouri on Thursday, February 27th, 2014

This is article 723 of 805 in the topic Terrorism

Suspected Islamists in Saudi Arabia with high-powered weapons opened fire at a police stationhouse in Awamiya on Tuesday, in a “hit-and run” attack that left three police officers wounded, according to several Middle East news organizations.

The three police officers were on their posts outside the police station when the still unidentified attackers began to fire at the officers and their stationhouse, said the Saudi Press Agency report.

One of the wounded police officers is listed as being in critical condition, the ministry said, after all three officers were rushed to a hospital emergency room.

A police dragnet is underway to trackdown the perpetrators of the sneak attack on the law enforcement facility, according to SPA.

Last week, a shootout in the same community ended with two police officers dead along with two radical Muslim gunmen.

Meanwhile on the same day, a criminal court judge in the Saudi city of Riyadh handed down an 18-year prison sentence to a Saudi radical Islamist, Jeddah Dhu-AlQa’dah, for issuing fatwas against the royal family and their government, and for assisting jihadists travel to Syrian, Somali, and other Muslim countries experiencing armed conflicts, according to Arab News.

During his trial, it was revealed that he was cognizant of plans by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to perpetrate terrorist attacks throughout the Kingdom.

Following his prison term, the judge said the “jihadist facilitator” would be banned from traveling abroad for an additional 18 years.

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Police chief assassinated by al-Qaeda in Yemen

by Jim Kouri on Friday, February 7th, 2014

This is article 712 of 805 in the topic Terrorism

A police chief was assassinated by unknown killers in Yemen’s southern city of Aden on Wednesday night, according to an American public safety and security expert, James Campbell. Yemeni law enforcement believe the perpetrators are members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Colonel Vadi al-Jably, the top-cop for an elite police counterterrorism unit in Aden, was discovered dead near a sports arena in Yemen’s Sheikh Othman district, the security source said. His remains were riddled with bullet holes, Campbell said.

Yemeni police detectives claimed they have launched an immediate investigation into the incident, adding that the killing was probably committed by terrorists who are members of the notorious al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The port city of Aden has witnessed a large number of bombings and shootings that specifically target police and intelligence officers over the past few months.

While no group has claimed responsibility for the police colonel’s assassination, jihadists from the Yemen-based al-Qaeda offshoot are being blamed for a series of vicious sneak attacks and assassinations, mostly in Yemen’s southern area.

The al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which became active in January 2009, is considered by many experts to be the most strategic threat to the Yemeni government and neighboring oil-rich Saudi Arabia.

“Some experts believe Yemen is a collapsing state challenged by a shrinking economy and rapidly depleting resources. Moreover, the Yemeni government, already facing an active rebellion in the north and growing secessionist movement in the south, has been further weakened by the Arab Spring protests. Success against AQAP requires not only tackling the organization itself, but addressing the conditions that have made Yemen an al-Qaeda safe haven,” according to Islamic terrorism expert Katherine Zimmerman.

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Terrorist extradition? Yemeni president tells Obama ‘never!’

by Jim Kouri on Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

This is article 689 of 805 in the topic Terrorism

President Barack Obama and his national security team met with negative results in their attempt to get Yemen’s government to extradite a leader of a radical political party suspected of supporting and financing al-Qaeda, according to government officials on Sunday.

Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi personally voiced his refusal during a speech on Sunday in which he criticized the U.S. government’s request for the extradition.

In his statement, aired on Yemeni government-controlled television, President Hadi claimed the charges were fake and he said administration had informed the Obama White House that it will never turn over Yemeni citizens to any foreign country, including the wanted suspect Abd al-Wahhab Mohammad Abd al-Rahman Humayqani, who is the secretary general of the Yemeni Rashad Union, that countries Salafist political party.

Salafists are ultra-fundamentalist Muslims who are even more radical than the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. While based in Egypt, they are active in the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip, Libya, and other Muslim nations.

Last month, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Humayqani and claimed that he used his position as head of a Yemen-based charity to send funds to the group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The Salafist leader is accused by the U.S. Justice Department of facilitating financial transfers from al-Qaeda supporters in Saudi Arabia to Yemen, as well.

“Once again we see a nation that receives billions of dollars in aid as well as counterterrorism training for its police and military telling Barack Obama ‘no.’ The problem is they know he’s as dishonest as they are and that he’s weak,” said former counterterrorism task force member, Capt. Martin Seeley.

Meanwhile, in yet another attack on a top Yemeni official, al-Qaeda gunmen allegedly killed a top-ranking intelligence officer in the city of Aden, according to Middle East news outlets.

Col. Marwan al-Maqbali was leaving his home when he was ambushed by gunmen firing at him from a car suspected of belonging to al-Qaeda, news agencies reported.

Two rounds struck their target and Col. Maqbali died before reaching the hospital. The carload of assailants escaped and are being hunted by Yemeni police and security officers.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been linked to most of the increasing number of drive-by-shootings of police, security, intelligence and military officials. While AQAP almost never admits to such attacks, the group did take responsibility for a Dec. 5, 2013 attack on Yemen’s defense ministry that left 56 people dead, according to an Examiner news story.

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Top 10 FBI terrorism cases in 2013

by Jim Kouri on Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

This is article 679 of 805 in the topic Terrorism

As part of the U.S. government’s year-end review for 2013, the FBI released a list of their top 10 terrorism investigations into what the Bureau labels “extremists” and their terrorist activities.

FBI officials noted that in 2013, as in past years, their agents focused on the agency’s top investigative priority: protecting the American people and the homeland from terrorist attacks. FBI officials claim they have worked towards that anti-terrorism goal with local, state, and federal law enforcement and intelligence community partners, primarily through FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces throughout the country.

Here are the FBI’s top 10 terrorism cases of 2013 listed in reverse chronological order:

1. Airport bomb plot: A 58-year-old man was charged in early December with attempting to explode a car bomb at a Kansas airport as an act of jihad against the U.S. He was arrested as a result of an undercover investigation.

2. Attempt to join al Qaeda: A New York resident was arrested in October for attempting to join al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and conspiring to commit murder overseas. The 25-year-old allegedly conspired with others to travel overseas to wage violent jihad against the enemies of Islam, which included the secular government of Yemen.

3. Material support to terrorists: Two suspects — one of whom is an American citizen — were indicted in August for conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaeda groups and the Somali-based Al Shabaab. The men were charged with attempting to provide money and recruits to three different terror organizations.

4. Sovereign citizen scheme: In July, the self-proclaimed president of a so-called sovereign citizen group in Alabama was sentenced to 18 years in prison for promoting a tax fraud scheme that taught people how to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. He and other sovereign citizens also sent demands to all 50 U.S. governors in 2010 ordering each to resign within three days — to be replaced by a “sovereign” leader or be “removed.”

5. Attempt to wage jihad: A Florida man was indicted in July for attempting to provide material support to terrorists. The 19-year-old suspect tried to travel to the Arabian Peninsula to join and fight with the violent al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) group that has taken responsibility for multiple attacks on Yemeni forces, including a suicide bombing in 2012 that killed more than 100 soldiers.

6. Former U.S. soldier indicted: A U.S. citizen who had served in the U.S. Army was indicted in June for conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. The 30-year-old man allegedly wanted to fight alongside an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group in Syria known as the Nusra Front.

7. Far-fetched terror plan: Two New York men were charged in June with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Their scheme involved creating a remote-control operated radiation-emitting device designed to kill people silently.

8. Tsarnaev charged: In April, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was charged with using a weapon of mass destruction for his role in the Boston Marathon bombings. The attacks killed three people and injured more than 260 others.

9. Suicide bombing: An Oregon resident was charged in March for his role in a 2009 suicide bombing.

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Another 9 police officers murdered by al-Qaeda in Yemen

by Jim Kouri on Thursday, November 21st, 2013

This is article 649 of 805 in the topic Terrorism

Nine police officers were murdered in a bloody ambush by suspected al-Qaeda terrorists in Yemen‘s southeastern province of Shabwa on Monday, according to a police intelligence officer who monitors Islamist groups in the Middle East and North Africa.

According to Michael Snopes, the radical Muslim attackers, armed with fully-automatic rifles and grenades, ambushed a patrol of special security forces near a gasoline storage facility in the Yemeni province of Nushymah.

The fierce battle left at least nine police officers dead and several officers wounded.

While no terrorist groups have as yet claimed responsibility for the attack, members of the al-Qaeda offshoot — al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) — are usually credited by intelligence agencies for such assassination attacks on public officials.

The al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which emerged in January 2009, is considered as the biggest threat to the Yemeni government and its neighbor the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Last month, al-Qaeda terrorists shot and killed a security officer for the German embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, while he attempted to protect the German ambassador on Sunday morning, according to an Israeli counterterrorism analyst, Josh Siegel.

A study featured in an Examiner news story revealed that al-Qaeda-affiliated organizations were responsible in 2011 for four of the five most lethal terrorist attacks:

* al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) – Yemen: March 28 – 110 killed, 45 injured

* Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – Pakistan: May 13 – 80 killed, 140 injured

* Al Shabaab – Somalia: Oct. 4 – 70 killed, 42 injured

* al-Qaeda in Iraq – Iraq: March 29 – 65 killed, 95 injured

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Study: Al-Qaeda-linked groups among most active terrorists in the world

by Jim Kouri on Friday, October 25th, 2013

This is article 643 of 805 in the topic Terrorism

While only one of the thousands of the acts of terrorism in 2011 was linked to Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahri’s original al-Qaeda terrorist group, more than half of the top 20 terrorist and militant organizations in 2011 are linked to al-Qaeda, according to new data published on Wednesday in the Homeland Security Newswire (HSN).

But, according to an Examiner news story, the leader of al-Qaeda Central is still calling the shots. For example Osama bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahri, in a statement, urged Somalia’s Al Shabaab terrorists to fight back against what he called “crusader invaders,” the Kenyan and Nigerian military forces assisting the Somali security forces.

The HSN report is based on an academic study conducted by the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) Global Terrorism Database (GTD).

Touted by HSN as being the most comprehensive, unclassified database of terrorist incidents, the GTD contains data on well over 100,000 terrorist attacks within the United State and globally between 1970 and 2011.

According to the GTD data those attacks left more than 225,000 people dead and close to 300,000 others wounded. The study defines terrorism as the “threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious or social goal through fear, coercion or intimidation.”

According to START’s database, the five most active perpetrators of terrorist attacks in 2011 were: (1)Communist Party of India – Maoist (CPI-M); (2) the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan; (3) Al Shabaab of Somalia; (4) Boko Haram of Nigeria; and (5) Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which is classified by many law enforcement agencies as narco-terrorists.

“While only one of the attacks in 2011 was attributed to al-Qaeda Central – the August kidnapping of Maryland native Warren Weinstein in Pakistan – 11 of the top 20 most active groups are linked to al-Qaeda. Those groups alone carried out more than 780 attacks that resulted in more than 3,000 deaths and wounded more than 4,600.” states the START analysts.

According to an Examiner story last December, al-Zawahri was particularly influenced by the radical Islam of Sayyid Qutb, according to which the Arab-Muslim regimes (“the internal enemy “) were no less dangerous than external enemies. His ideology justified using violence and terrorism against them, since, it claimed, they had deviated from the precepts of Islam and did not govern according to religious Muslim law (the Shari’a). He was also influenced by Dr. Abdullah Azzam, a Palestinian from northern Samaria, who became Osama bin Laden’s ideological mentor. Azzam developed and institutionalized the concept of jihad as the “personal duty” of every Muslim.

The START study reveals that al-Qaeda-affiliated organizations were responsible in 2011 for four of the five most lethal terrorist attacks:

  • al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) – Yemen: March 28 – 110 killed, 45 injured
  • Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – Pakistan: May 13 – 80 killed, 140 injured
  • Al Shabaab – Somalia: Oct.

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Homegrown terrorist nabbed for attempt to join al-Qaeda

by Jim Kouri on Sunday, October 20th, 2013

This is article 639 of 805 in the topic Terrorism

A multi-count indictment of an alleged homegrown jihadist was unsealed on Friday charging the suspect with conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

The five-count indictment charges Marcos Alonso Zea, a/k/a “Ali Zea,” a U.S. citizen who lives in Brentwood, New York, with conspiracy to commit murder, attempting to provide material support to terrorists, attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, also known as Ansar al-Sharia (AQAP/AAS), and obstruction and attempted obstruction of justice.

The 25-year-old Zea was arrested Friday morning at his Brentwood home on Long Island and arraigned in the afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Arlene Lindsay at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York, also on Long Island.

According to the indictment and other court filings, starting in the fall of 2011, Zea conspired with other suspected homegrown radical Muslims to travel overseas assist in waging violent jihad on the “enemies of Islam,” which includes the secular government of Yemen.

According to the FBI, on Jan. 4, 2012, Zea flew from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in Queens, New York, to Heathrow Airport in London, England, on his way to Yemen to join and fight for AQAP/AAS, a group designated as foreign terrorist organization by both the U.S. State and Treasury Departments.

The al-Qaeda branch claims responsibility for several terrorist attacks against the United States, including the attempted Christmas Day 2009 bombing of a Detroit-bound passenger plane.

According to the indictment, Zea was intercepted by customs officials in the United Kingdom (UK) sent back to the United States, where he continued his active role in the terrorist conspiracy. For example, Zea encouraged and supported a co-conspirator, Justin Kaliebe, who also was planning to wage jihad in Yemen.

In August 2012, in a covertly recorded conversation between Zea and Kaliebe, Zea bragged about his lies to British authorities when he was detained, instructed Kaliebe regarding methods to evade electronic surveillance by law enforcement authorities, and discussed Kaliebe’s plans to fight jihad.

On Jan. 21, 2013, the 18-year-old Kaliebe attempted to fly from New York to Yemen to join AQAP/AAS but he was captured at JFK Airport by members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and the NYPD’s Intelligence Division.

Kaliebe subsequently pled guilty to one count of attempting to provide material support to terrorists and one count of attempting to provide material support to AQAP/AAS. Kaliebe is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 6, 2013, by United States District Judge Arthur D. Spatt in United States District Court in Central Islip, according to a Justice Department report.

“Despite being born and raised in the United States, Zea allegedly betrayed his country and attempted to travel to Yemen in order to join a terrorist organization and commit murder,” stated U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch.

“When that plan was thwarted, Zea continued to support terrorism by assisting his co-conspirator’s efforts to travel to Yemen to fight violent jihad. When the defendant sensed investigators from the JTTF closing in, he engaged in a desperate effort to cover his tracks by attempting to destroy evidence — a tactic that only confirmed his violent aims,” Lynch said.

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