by Florian Flade
He is one of Al-Qaida´s most shadowy and mysterious figures in the Pakistani tribal areas – Sheikh Younis Mohammed al-Mauretani.
Pakistan´s military forces today announced Al-Mauretani´s arrest in a written statement, saying the North African Al-Qaida operative was captured in the city of Quetta close to the Afghan border. Along with al-Mauretani two other Arab Al-Qaida members, named Abdul Ghaffar Al Shami (Bachar Chama) and Messara Al Shami (Mujahid Amino) were arrested. No Details were given on these two men.
Sheikh Younis al-Mauretani was labeled Al-Qaida´s Chief of External Operations by the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, holding one of the most important positions within the terrorist network. “He was planning to target United States economic interests including gas/oil pipelines, power generating dams, and strike ships/oil tankers through explosive laden speed boats in International waters”, the Pakistani ISI claims in a statement. Cooperation with the CIA led to the arrest of Al-Mauretani, the statement further explains.
Counter-terrorism officials in the USA and Pakistan believe al-Mauretani was in direct contact with Bin Laden until US Navy SEALs killed the Al-Qaida leader in May. Inside the Abbottabad compound were Bin Laden was hiding, documents were found which are confirming that al-Mauretani was the mastermind behind a 2010 terrorist plot to target European economy. A strategy paper written by Al-Mauretani suggested to hit especially economic targets in the West to harm the USA and Europe. From what is known it seems Bin Laden approved this plan and promised the financing of the terror attacks.
Most of what is known about Al-Mauretani was revealed during the interrogation of two German terror suspects arrested last year. Ahmad Wali Siddiqi and Rami Makanesi from Hamburg had traveled to the Waziristan terrorist training camps in March 2009. Both of them met Al-Mauretani in early 2010 when the Al-Qaida operative was searching for Western recruits. “Al-Qaida´s No.3 – Foreign Minister” – Al-Mauretani introduced himself to the Jihadis from Germany.
Makanesi describes al-Mauretani as a skinny, tall person with a calm manner, well-spoken and intelligent. “What we have are planning, not even the devil has in mind”, al-Mauretani had told the German terrorists in Waziristan according to Makanesi and Siddiqi. He later outlined his “Europe Plot” to them, telling them about his idea of striking economic targets in various European countries.
In January or February 2010 Sheikh al-Mauretani had met another German Jihadi who arrived at the Al-Qaida training camps – Abdelkarim el-K., a Moroccan who lived and studied in Düsseldorf. After returning to Germany El-K. formed a terrorist cell he became the leader of. While the group planned to obtain or produce explosives El-K. tried to contact the Al-Qaida commanders in Waziristan for advice. One of the people he tried to contact but could not reach was none other than Al-Mauretani.
In addition to what Makanesi and Siddiqi told German and American intelligence most information available on al-Mauretani is believed to be rumors and unconfirmed reports by Arab intelligence agencies. Some sources say the Mauretanian Al-Qaida suspect had studied in Egypt and later left the country to join Bin Laden in Afghanistan. Others say al-Mauretani lived in Saudi-Arabia before coming to Waziristan and that he owned a football club there.
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Tagged Abbottabad, Afghanistan, Ahmad W. Siddiqi, al Mauretani, al Qaeda, al Qaida, arrested, attacks, captured, CIA, document, Dschihad, economic, Europe plot, Florian Flade, German, Germany, Hamburg, ISI, Jihad, jihadi, leader, Mauritani, militant, North Africa, Osama Bin Laden, Pakistan, picture, Quetta, Rami Makanesi, Sheikh, statement, Terror, terror network, terrorist, USA, Waziristan, Younis, Yunis
by Florian Flade
May 4th, Gulshan e-Iqbal District, Karachi: Pakistani security forces raided a building in the center of the coastal town of Karachi. They arrested the suspected Arab al-Qaida member Muhammad Ali Qassim aka “Abu Suhaib al-Makki”.
According to Pakistani authorities Qassim, who had a satellite phone and GPS tracking devices on him at the time of the arrest, had lived in Pakistan for years with his wife and three children. His nationalities was not confirmed but it is suspected he is either a Yemeni or Saudi citizen of 35 to 40 years old. The Pakistani intelligence ISI believes Qassim took over an important role in al-Qaida after a US drone attack killed the Egyptian Mustafa Abu al-Yazid in May 2010.
Qassim allegedly speaks Pashto and Urdu and was, according to the BBC one of the main couriers between Osama Bin Laden and his deputy Dr.Ayman az-Zawahiri. He traveled a lot around Pakistan and had previously lived in various cities in the country, including Peshawar, Faisalabad and Abbottabad, where Bin Laden was killed by US Navy SEALs about two weeks ago.
US officials said “Abu Suhaib al-Makki” was not on the most-wanted list of al-Qaida figures and is not suspected of being a member of the terrorist networks leadership. If the reports are true, he was a courier regularly transferring messages from Bin Laden to Zawahiri and vice versa, it is interesting to note that he was arrested only two days after Bin Laden was killed. Did Pakistani intelligence know about the presence of the Arab al-Qaida courier in Karachi? Where they tracking him or did they come across him only because of the intel found in the Bin Laden compound?
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Tagged Abbottabad, Abu Sohaib, Abu Suhaib al Makki, Aiman Sawahiri, al Qaeda, al Qaida, Arab, Araber, arrested, Ayman Zawahiri, courier, facilitator, Florian Flade, Islamist, Jemenit, Karachi, kurier, Muhammad Ali Qasim, Muhammad Ali Qassim, North Waziristan, Osama Bin Laden, Pakistan, Saudi, Terror, terror network, terrorist, Waziristan, Yemeni
Winnipeg, Manitoba – prairies country, far away from the violent wars being fought in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan or Somalia. Yet, three students from University of Manitoba boarded a plane in early 2007, traveling from their peaceful and safe home in Canada, to the wilderness of Pakistani Waziristan. Since then – the Muslim students have disappeared.
Miawand Yar - an ethnic Afghan, born in Pakistan, arrested on charges of drug selling at a schoolyard
Ferid Imam – a student originally from East Africa with a great talent in soccer
Muhannad al-Farekh – born in Texas, grew up in the United Arab Emirates and endet up in Canadian Winnipeg
The three Muslim friends went on Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi-Arabia, the year before they disappeared, leaving family, friends and university comrades with questions and Canada´s security services with fear.
In the biggest terror investigation since 9/11 Canadian authorities started a global manhunt for the three students from Winnipeg. Suspicion is growing Ferid, Maiwand and Muhannad went to Pakistan to join al-Qaeda and to receive training in the terror camps of the tribal areas. Witnesses say, they saw the three men in their twenties in the Pakistani town of Peshawar, gateway to the terror safe havens along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
Canadian newspaper “Globe and Mail” followed the traces left being by the Winnipeg students who are believed to have turned into radical Jihadis. Families and friends talk about the missing boys, asking why they embraces the idea of violent jihad and finally made the decision to join the ranks of terror networks in Pakistan.
Read “Global manhunt for Canadian students” here or click on the picture above.
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Tagged Afghanistan, al Qaeda, al Qaida, Canada, conflict, Ferid Imam, fight, Florian Flade, Globe and Mail, Hajj, Jihad, manhunt, Manitoba, Miawand Yan, Muhannad al Farekh, Muslims, Pakistan, students, Terror, terror network, University of Manitoba, war, Waziristan, Winnipeg