Schlagwort-Archive: threat

British Jihadi Killed By U.S. Drone In Somalia

by Florian Flade

They are Al-Qaida´s hidden force, joining Al-Shabaab, fighting and training in a country that has suffered from civil war, occupation and drought for decades – foreign Jihadi militants in Somalia.

Hundreds of foreign fighters are actively training and fighting in Somalia, Western intelligence agencies and Somali government officials are estimating. Most of these so-called „Al-Mujahiroun“ are suspected to be from other African countries like Sudan, Kenya, Chad or Eritrea followed by the Arab fighters, some of which are Pakistan/Afghanistan-trained and experienced.

The real concern for Western intelligence services are the Jihadis holding Western passports. The threat these Islamists from Europe and North America are posing has long been underestimated according to various European counter-terrorism officials. Dozens of young men from the Somali communities of Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and the United States have joined Al-Shabaab in recent years, turning the group into an international terrorist organization.

Nevertheless Al-Qaida has successfully established its own branch in Somalia, regularly cooperating with Al-Shabaab. One of these Al-Qaida members in Somalia was killed today by what local sources believe to be a U.S. drone strike on a car.

„At around 2 p.m., a U.S. drone targeted our Mujahidin. One foreigner, a Lebanese with a British passport died“, the chief spokesman for Al-Shabaab, Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, told news agency Reuters, „Bilal Al-Barqawi, a great Mujahid brother who was in Somalia for a long time was killed today. He was in a car in Elasha. This foreigner is a martyr.“

The British-Lebanese is Bilal Al-Barqawi known as „Abu Hafsa“, a Islamist who grew up in West-London and came to Somalia in 2006 and served as the deputy to Fazul Abdallah, Al-Qaida´s most senior commander in Somalia killed in June 2011 by Somali troops in a Mogadishu shoot-out.

When a U.S. airstrike targeted Lower Jubba region in Southern Somalia in July 2011 Bilal Al-Barqawi was injured on his head and later received treatment in Kenya according to Al-Shabaab.

British intelligence officials have warned about the emerging threat of Western Jihadi militants trained as terrorists in Somalia – especially those holding Western passports. Numerous of these foreigners have died in Somalia, most of them during gun-battles, others became suicide bombers. If the news of Bilal Al-Barqawi is confirmed, this shows: a Western Jihadi was for some years Al-Qaida´s No.2 man in the country.

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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.

From Osama with Love – Bin Laden´s Letter to Germany

by Florian Flade

„Treasure trove“ – that´s the word used by US intelligence officials to describe what the Navy SEALs Team found inside Osama Bin Laden´s compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad during their nighttime operation. After the American soldiers shot and killed the Al-Qaida leader and several other people inside the hideout, they went room to room seizing highly valuable material. More than 2,7 terabytes of files and data were obtained by the US, some of which was old propaganda recorded years ago.

The most interesting part of all the obtained documents were Bin Laden´s handwritten letters and speeches. It took the CIA months to analyze the Abbottabad material. Was there any unknown terror plot Al-Qaida was about to carry out soon? What was Bin Laden´s role in past terrorist operations? Was he a chief planner and knew of all the plots by his network?

It seems like the CIA decided to hand some of the material to their European partners – giving them documents which would be of interest to them. Documents in which the Al-Qaida leader talks about Europe. Two of these documents are especially interesting for German counter-terrorism officials.

During the Abbottabad raid the US obtained a strategy paper written by Al-Qaida´s alleged „Foreign Minister“, Sheikh Younis Mohammed al-Mauretani. In this document sent to Bin Laden, Al-Mauretani outlines the plans of a Europe-Plot, describing attacks on European economic targets and thereby harming Western economy in general. Al-Mauretani lists numerous countries which should be attacked by Al-Qaida – one of them is Germany.

The existence of this strategy paper of a Jihad against European economy – which is confirmed by German counter-terrorism officials – seems to underline the claims of two German Jihadi terrorists which were arrested in 2010. Rami Makanesi of Frankfurt and Ahmed Wali Siddiqi of Hamburg, both of whom had traveled to Pakistani tribal areas of Waziristan in 2009 to receive terrorist training, spoke about a Al-Qaida plot led by Al-Mauretani.

According to Makanesi and Siddiqi Sheikh al-Mauretani was traveling around the Waziristan villages in summer 2009 to recruit European Jihadis for a big operation. „What we are planning, not even the devil has in mind“, al-Mauretani allegedly told the German Jihadis. Bin Laden himself was instructed by al-Mauretani about the plot and had already approved it, promising the necessary financial support.

Makanesi´s and Siddiqi´s assertions were in part the reason why German authorities raised the terrorist threat level in November 2010. Interior Ministry released a statement saying the threat of a terrorist attack is imminent.

The fact that US troops indeed found a plot description by Al-Mauretani in Bin Laden´s house in Abbottabad now confirms the Al-Qaida leader´s involvement in the planning of a large-scale attack in several European countries including Germany.

Another document found in Abbottabad is even more worrying. According to my information a handwritten letter by Osama Bin Laden was found which could prove a direct link between the Al-Qaida leader and a terrorist cell based in Germany. In this letter Bin Laden writes about brothers stationed in Europa – naming Abdeladim el-K..

El-K., a 29 year-old Moroccan national, was arrested in Germany on April 29th, a few days before Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan. He is suspected of being the head of the so-called „Düsseldorf-Zelle“, a three-men group of Jihadi terrorists planning to carry out attacks in Germany. El-K. who lived and studied in Germany had traveled to Waziristan in early 2010 and received training at a Al-Qaida camp where he came in contact with Sheikh Younis al-Mauretani.

Back in Germany El-K. recruited fellow Moroccan Jamil S. and German-Iranian Amid C.. The three men formed an Al-Qaida cell which was tasked by Al-Qaida´s commander Atiyattullah al-Libi to strike Germany. El-K. tried to contact Atiyattullah via the internet in the months leading to his arrest – but he was not able to reach the Waziristan-based terrorist.

Since November 2010 German counter-terrorism officials were hunting for a „Moroccan cell“ in Germany. German Jihadi terrorist Emrah E. living in Waziristan had called German police in October and told them he wants to surrender. He also spoke about Al-Qaida´s plans to attack the country. He said he knew of a Moroccan cell already in Germany, ready to strike even the parliament building in Berlin.

Finally, earlier this year and with the help of Moroccan and American intelligence, authorities were able to identity Abdeladim el-K. as a potential terrorist cell leader. They began monitoring him. When El-K. was visiting several internet cafés in one day, acting very carefully, they decided to wiretap his phones and infiltrate his computers.

In April El-K. and his Jihadi colleagues talked about a plan to build bombs, discussing the possible targets. German police intervened. On April 29 El-K., Jamil S. and Amid C. were arrested.

Question now is: Why did Bin Laden mention the „Düsseldorf-Cell“ leader by name in a letter written in his Abbottabad hideout? Only logical explanation is that Osama Bin Laden knew about the people his commanders had recruited and trained in Waziristan. He must have known about Europe based cells and was even informed about the men´s names.

A copy of the Bin Laden letter was allegedly given to European intelligence agencies to identify other possible Al-Qaida terrorists living in Western Europe. German police would not confirm or deny the existence of such a letter mentioning Abdeladim el-K..

All in all, the Abbottabad treasure trove links the bits and pieces of a terror plot a few captured Jihadis and phone calls shed light on in 2010 and shows how much the Al-Qaida leadership was involved in the future terrorist campaigns.