Tag Archives: Bekkay Harrach

Bin Ladens Briefe und der Deutsche Bekkay Harrach

von Florian Flade

Ein Jahr nach der Tötung von Al-Qaida-Gründer Osama Bin Laden wurden 17 Dokumente veröffentlicht, die in Bin Ladens Versteck in Abbottabad gefunden wurden. Die Briefe, teilweise von Bin Laden selbst verfasst, sind nur ein Bruchteil der Kommunikation zwischen dem Terrorchef und seinen Kommandeuren. Kurios: ein Brief erwähnt den deutschen Terroristen Bekkay Harrach aus Bonn – war der Dschihadist vor seinem Tod noch Al-Qaida oder nicht?

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The Day Al-Qaida Fired Bekkay Harrach

by Florian Flade

Bekkay Harrach aka “Abu Talha al Almani” – Terrorist threats in the name of Al-Qaida

He looked a bit undressed in his suite and tie in front of a red curtain, but his message was a chilling one: Germany is about to experience bloody terror by Al-Qaida if the people choose to vote for a new government which is still committed to the Afghanistan engagement of the German military – the September 2009 video message by German Al-Qaida terrorist Bekkay Harrach.

The video posted on the internet on September 18 was Harrach´s second terror threat. In January 2009 he appeared for the first time in a video produced by Al-Qaida´s As-Sahab Media titled “Das Rettungspaket für Al-Qaida”. Harrach aka “Abu Talha the German” threatened terror attacks in Germany after the September 2009 elections – the first direct warning to Germany coming from Al-Qaida.

Harrach´s second message, released only a few days before the parliamentary elections, caused German counter-terrorism officials to rise the threat level drastically.  Again the German-Moroccan from Bonn reminded the German public of Al-Qaida´s promise. For those inside the intelligence community there was no doubt: Al-Qaida had set sights on Germany.

What seemed to be a coordinated Al-Qaida campaign against Germany was in fact a lonesome plan by Harrach to strike fear in his old home country. German magazine SPIEGEL reports that Bekkay Harrach who acted as Al-Qaida´s official German spokesman, was dismissed by the terrorist network because of the September 2009 video message. The video was not authorized by Al-Qaida nor was it recorded and produced by it´s official propaganda wing “As-Sahab Media”.

The video did not bear any official label – it had allegedly been produced and released by Al-Fajr Media, Jihadi propaganda outlet who releases video, audio and written statements on behalf of several Jihadi groups.

During interrogation two German Jihadis, Rami Makanesi and Ahmad W. Siddiqi, told German intelligence that Al-Qaida was so angry about Harrach´s independent action in the name of the organization that he was fired by Al-Qaida´s leadership in Waziristan. Harrach had to leave the organization in late 2009, Makanesi and Siddiqi told the interrogators.

Shortly after the September 2009 threat video was posted on the internet some experts doubted the authenticity of it. Why did Harrach appear in a Al-Qaida video dressed in the same outfit US-President Barack Obama wore during his Cairo speech? Never before had an Al-Qaida official appeared in video dressed up like a Western politician. And why was there no official editing done to the video by “As-Sahab Media”?

It seems reasonable to say Harrach most likely was hoping for Islamist sympathizers in Germany to act on their own after the Al-Qaida threat. Eventhough he urged followers to hold any terrorist attacks and to wait till Al-Qaida members would begin the bloody campaign against Germany, he propbably knew that no such terrorist cells existed in the country. He was hoping for the “lone wolves” to be inspired by his message.

None of them acted, no terrorist attack was carried out during or in the weeks after the 2009 election in Germany. Bekkay Harrach´s promise in the name of Al-Qaida was not fullfilled. He himself will not be able to fullfill it himself either – Harrach, who had traveled to Pakistan in 2007 and joined Al-Qaida, was killed in late summer 2010 during an assault attack on US military base Bagram in southern Afghanistan.

German Terror Tourists – Two Jihadis From Germany Arrested in AfPak

by Florian Flade

UPDATE: According to German newspaper DER SPIEGEL, the arrested Moroccan terror suspect is 30-year-old named Mohammed A. who had lived in Berlin before he left the country in 2010 after his permission of residence expired. A. and another Islamist from Berlin traveled to Pakistan via Turkey. In Turkey, Mohammed A. was arrested but later released. US military officials, DER SPIEGEL writes, claim that A. was planning a suicide bombing on a government compound in the Zabul Province of Afghanistan. He is now being held at Bagram Airbase Prison.

On May 8 US troops started a nighttime military operation in the village of Ghazi Kali in the Qalat district of Zabul Province in southern Afghanistan. Their target was a local Taliban facilitator. The operation resulted in the killing of ten suspected insurgents and the capture of several individuals believed to be al-Qaida associated Jihadi militants. Most of those killed and captures were Non-Afghans, among them Saudi, Turkish, Pakistani and French nationals.

One of those arrested during the raid is a Moroccan man who is now in US military custody. ISAF said in a statement the person is an al-Qaida recruit who was based in Germany before coming to Afghanistan. He is described as a “foreign fighter facilitator”.

According to ISAF the interrogation of the Moroccan resulted in valuable intelligence about al-Qaida´s activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan. “After his capture the facilitator provided details about his personal travel from Germany (…) He also observed foreigners from many countries converging in Pakistan to conduct attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan”, the ISAF statement reads.

“Additional information provided by the facilitator on the mechanics of getting foreign fighters to Afghanistan will serve to support targeting the network of facilitators who bring global terrorism to bear on coalition forces and civilians in Afghanistan”

Like foreign Jihadi militants the unnamed Moroccan traveled from Europe to Iran and then to Pakistan were he was trained in a terrorist training camp. “During a delay in his travels in Iran, the facilitator stated he was approached to become a suicide bomber,” ISAF claims, “However, he declined because of his goal to take part in the Global Jihad.”

German officials would not comment on the arrest of the suspected German-based Jihadi. The German Foreign Ministry told me they are aware of this report but cannot provide any further information or even confirm that US Military officials have contacted their German counterparts in that case.

Some information has surfaced though about the person. Allegedly he is not a German citizen but he lived in German for some years. The man´s permit of residence expired a while ago. Allegedly he left Germany a while ago and traveled to Pakistani Waziristan where he joined al-Qaida.

Another case of a suspected German Jihadi terrorist surfaced last weekend. Pakistani security forces arrested the German citizen Michael W. in April who is accused of being a member of a terrorist organization. W. was a resident of Bonn before he traveled to Pakistani terror camps last year. The convert was allegedly a friend of German al-Qaida spokesman Bekkay Harrach (who was killed in 2010 during an attack on Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan). Both had attended so-called “Islam Seminaries” in Germany, some of which Harrach had organized.

A spokesman for Germany´s Foreign Ministry confirmed in a phone call that a German national is in Pakistani custody and is being looked after by German Embassy staff in Islamabad. One of the German officials working at the Embassy has already visited W. who is expected to be extradited to Germany soon. No arrest warrant had been issued against Michael W. before he was arrested by Pakistani authorities.