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Suicide Terror Plots & Patsies


Title: Bomb Carrier In U.S. House Prompts Tightened Security
Date: November 2, 1998
Source:
New York Times

Abstract: The Capitol police re-adjusted metal detectors and installed sensitive bomb-detecting equipment last month after a tourist entered the House gallery with a homemade bomb under his shirt. Jack Russ, the sergeant-at-arms of the House, said today that the urgent steps following the Oct. 18 scare were the beginning of a tighter security system. In an interview, Mr. Russ said the bomb taken into the building ''was not a dud.'' It failed to explode because the man ''had not placed his wiring properly,'' he said
(New York Times, 1998).

Title: Would-Be 'Capitol Bomber In Fake Suicide Vest' Foiled By FBI Sting Was Under Surveillance In Year-Long Probe
Date:
February 19, 2012
Source:
Daily Mail

Abstract:
A 29-year-old Moroccan man was arrested on Friday in an FBI sting operation near the U.S. Capitol while planning to detonate what police said he thought were live explosives.

Amine El Khalifi of Alexandria, Virginia, was taken into custody a year after the FBI received a tip from an informant fearful of his anti-U.S. attitude. Authorities immediately began tracking the suspect.

He was eventually arrested with a fake gun and explosives given to him by undercover FBI agents he believed were al-Qaeda members.

Authorities said the suspect was closely monitored by law enforcement, and the would-be explosives had been deactivated, so the public was never in danger.

Officials say he has recently arrived at a federal court in Alexandria, where he is scheduled to appear later this evening.

Two people briefed on the matter told The Associated Press he was not arrested on the Capitol grounds, and the FBI has had El Khalifi under surveillance around the clock for several weeks.

A U.S. law enforcement official said the El Khalifi was canvassing the U.S. Capitol with violent intentions, Fox News first reported.

He was not believed to have any known connections to al-Qaeda, the AP reported, though NBC News said that the man had overstayed his visa and was in the country illegally.

Police are currently canvassing El Khalifi's hometown of Alexandria as the investigation continues. Officials say they believe he was acting alone.

They say he was targeting the Capitol Hill Visitor Centre, though he changed his mind about the intended target a few times.

'He wanted to set off the explosives where people would be around,' an official said to NBC News.

El Khalifi expressed interest in killing at least 30 people and considered targeting a building in Alexandria and a restaurant, synagogue and a place where military personnel gather in Washington.

He finally settled on the Capitol after canvassing that area a couple of times, a counterterrorism official told the AP.

Fox News said that he had come into the country with a family member and then popped up on the FBI’s radar.

The investigation that led to El Khalifi's arrest started last January on a confidential informant's tip to the FBI, the Associated Press reported.

The informant described a meeting inside an Arlington apartment, where a person who produced an AK-47, two revolvers and ammunition said the war on terror equated with a 'war on Muslims' and urged the group to prepare for battle. El Khalifi, the FBI learned, expressed agreement.

Agents said he got more extreme as time passed, and allegedly had ambitions to become the first suicide bomber on U.S. soil.

Federal agents posing as al-Qaeda operatives provided him with what he thought was a suicide vest this morning, though the explosives were deactivated.

He was taken down by federal agents outside of the FBI's Wasington Field Office Joint Terrorism Task Force, CBS News said.

The news network said that El Khalifi was praying at a mosque somewhere in Washington area Friday morning, before the alleged mission.

An official told the Post that he was arrested only a few blocks from the Capitol in an alley.

The suspect will appear in federal court as early as this afternoon.

At least 20 people have been arrested by federal agents on terrorism-related charges in the past year, the Senate Intelligence Committee told the Post.

The plot used by FBI agents is similar to those used in the past. Last September, a man was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly plotting to use remote-controlled airplanes filled with explosives to attack the Capitol.

Likewise, back in November 2010, a Somali-born teenager allegedly plotted to bomb a crowded Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon. He was receiving help from what he thought were jihadists, but were in fact federal agents.

The foiled plot comes only a day after the so-called underwear bomber, Nigerian-born Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was sentenced to life in prison without parole for his failed Christmas Day attack.

Abdulmutallab tried to blow up a plane by detonating a bomb, but the explosion only caused a brief fire that badly burned his groin (Daily Mail, 2012).

Title: New York Man Found Guilty In Thwarted Subway Attack Plot
Date: May 1, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: A New York man was convicted Tuesday of plotting an aborted suicide mission against New York City subways in 2009 -- a case that featured the first-time testimony from admitted homegrown terrorists about Al Qaeda's fixation with pulling off another attack on American soil.

A jury found Adis Medunjanin guilty of all counts for his role in a terror plot that federal authorities say was one of the closest calls since Sept. 11, 2001.

"This is Terrorism 101," Assistant U.S. Attorney Berit Berger said in closing arguments in federal court in Brooklyn. "The goal of this conspiracy was to kill as many people as possible."

Medunjanin could be ordered to spend the rest of his life in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 7.

Defense attorney Robert Gottlieb said he disagreed with the verdict and would appeal, but said the trial showed that the U.S. court system -- not a military tribunal -- is best for prosecuting terror crimes.

"The world and our national government including all our politicians should take note that this is the way crimes should be decided, not in a military commission, not in a star chamber, but in America," he said.

Medunjanin showed no visible reaction to the verdicts.

Gottlieb said Medunjanin asked his lawyer to "tell his family to be strong." His mother and sister testified during the trial of terrifying late-night raids by federal agents out for Medunjanin.

The defense admitted that the Bosnian-born Medunjanin wanted to fight for the Taliban, but they insisted he never agreed to spread death and destruction in the city where his family put down roots.

Medunjanin, 27, went overseas to fulfill a "romantic version of jihad. ... His plan and intent was to join the Taliban and stand up for what he believes in," defense attorney Robert Gottlieb said in his closing. "That was his purpose."

The government's case was built on the testimony of four men: two other radicalized Muslim men from Queens who pleaded guilty in the subway plot, a British would-be shoe bomber and a man originally from Long Island who gave Al Qaeda pointers on how best to attack a Walmart store.

Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay, both former high school classmates of Medunjanin, told jurors that the scheme unfolded after the trio traveled to Pakistan in 2008 to avenge the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

While receiving terror training at outposts in the South Waziristan region of Pakistan, Al Qaeda operatives encouraged the American recruits to return home for a suicide-bombing mission intended to spread panic and cripple the economy. Among the targets considered were New York Stock Exchange, Times Square and Grand Central Terminal, the men testified.

In a later meeting in New York, the plotters decided to strap on bombs and blow themselves up at rush hour on Manhattan subway lines because the transit system is "the heart of everything in New York City," Zazi said.

Zazi told jurors how he learned to distill explosives ingredients from nail polish remover, hydrogen peroxide and other products sold at beauty supply stores. When leaving Pakistan, he relocated to Colorado, where he perfected a homemade detonator in a hotel room and set out for New York City by car around the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The plot -- financed in part by $50,000 in credit card charges -- was abandoned after Zazi noticed that everywhere he drove in New York, a car followed.

"I think law enforcement is on us," he recalled telling Ahmedzay. Later, he said he told Medunjanin in a text message, "We are done."

The other convicted terrorists were called as witnesses to give a rare glimpse into Al Qaeda's training methods and the mindset of its leadership.

In a videotaped deposition made public for the first time during the trial, Saajid Badat recounted a clandestine meeting where Osama bin Laden explained the rationale behind the failed plot for Badat and Richard Reid to attack trans-Atlantic flights with bombs hidden in shoes.

Bin Laden "said the American economy is like a chain," the British man said. "If you break one -- one link of the chain -- the whole economy will be brought down. So after Sept. 11 attacks, this operation will ruin the aviation industry and in turn the whole economy will come down."

Bryant Neal Vinas, of Patchogue on Long Island, testified that he went to Pakistan in 2007 and later joined Al Qaeda forces in an attack against American soldiers.

Vinas described how he suggested to others in Al Qaeda in the summer of 2008 that they could plant explosives in suitcase aboard a Long Island Rail Road train or hide them inside a television that was being returned to a Walmart.

An attack on the popular retail outlet "would cause a very big economy hit," he said (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Burgas Suicide Bomber A Guantanamo Jihadist?
Date: July 19, 2012
Source:
RT

Abstract: Bulgarian media have reportedly identified the man responsible for blowing up the bus with Israeli tourists on Wednesday as Mehdi Ghezali, a jihadist who spent two years in Guantanamo. US officials responded there is “no evidence” that it was him.

Ghezali’s name was revealed by Times of Israel newspaper, who cited local Bulgarian media sources.

But later the story grew murkier, with ABC reporting that Bulgarian officials denied that Ghezali was behind the attack. Swedish agency TT says it has received similar refutals from security services in Stockholm. NBC later said that US officials also had no information linking Ghezali with the terrorist act.

None of the countries have issued an independently verified statement.

Previously, local police matched up airport CCTV footage with the remnants near the bus carrying Israeli tourists that was destroyed in the explosion. The likely suicide bomber was carrying a US driving license bearing the name Jacque Felipe Martin that authorities believe to be a forgery.

Mehdi Ghezali is a 33 year-old Islamist, who was arrested in Pakistan in 2001 and subsequently spent two years in detention in Guantanamo. When he was sent back to Sweden, the local government refused to press charges against him. He was arrested again by Pakistani authorities on the Afghanistan border in 2009, but once again set free upon extradition back to his homeland.

The suspect – a long-haired man in shorts wearing two rucksacks – looked no different than the thousands of other holidaymakers at the popular Black Sea resort. He roamed the airport for an hour, apparently waiting for the tourists arriving from Tel Aviv to go through customs before approaching their transfer bus and detonating his bomb.

Five Israelis, the Bulgarian driver and the bomber were instantly killed. Two more tourists remain in serious condition in the capital Sofia, while an Israeli military plane has flown around thirty others who were wounded back to Israel.

Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said the bomber had spent between four days and a week in the country.

”We cannot exclude the possibility that he had logistical support on Bulgarian territory,'' said Tsvetanov.

Police have taken a DNA sample from the skin of the terrorist to see if it is listed in any international criminal databases.

The shadow war

Israel did not hesitate in naming the perpetrators of the attack.

"All signs point to Iran. This is an Iranian terror offensive that is spreading throughout the world," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The past year has seen attacks on Israeli embassies in Georgia, India and Kenya. Israel says that each time the investigation led back to Iran, Israel’s principal enemy.

"The direct executors are Hezbollah,'' claimed Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. The Lebanese Islamist organization enjoys ideological and financial ties with Tehran.

"Israel will do all it can to find those responsible and punish them, both those who carried it out directly and those who dispatched them,” promised Barak.

In response, Iranian TV branded the accusations “sensationalist” and “ridiculous.”

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov said further investigations will be necessary before a definitive perpetrator of the attack is found.

“It is wrong and a mistake to point fingers at this stage of the investigation at any country or organization," stated Mladenov (RT, 2012).

Title: Kenyan Terror Suspect Admits Possession Of Bombs
Date: September 17, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: A Kenyan man pleaded guilty Monday to possession of six bombs including four suicide vests and being a member of al-Shabab, the Somali Islamist extremist group allied to al-Qaida that has threatened terrorist attacks in Kenya.

Abdi Majid Yassin Mohammed, 26, also known as Ali Hussein, had no defense attorney with him as he entered a guilty plea before magistrate Lucy Nyambura on charges that he was caught engaging in an organized criminal activity by being a member of al-Shabab, which has been outlawed in Kenya. The U.S. designated Al- Shabaab as a foreign terrorist organization in 2008.

Mohammed also admitted that he was in possession of the explosives, 12 grenades and 481 bullets but denied that he was in possession of four AK-47 rifles. His co-accused, Omar Abdi Ada, 24, also known as Salman Abdi, denied 10 charges against him including the weapons charges. The two suspects were unrepresented in court and spoke through interpreters. Ada is Somali.

Nyambura ordered Mohammed be taken for a psychiatric examination and be arraigned in court on Tuesday so that charges can read to him again.

The suspects were arrested Friday in a raid on a house in a residential area which police said disrupted the final stages of planning of a major terrorist attack. The house is in Eastleigh neighborhood in Nairobi where a large Somali community resides, earning it the name "little Mogadishu" — after Somalia's war-torn capital city.

After the raid police displayed suicide vests rigged with hundreds of metal ball bearings, two improvised explosive devices, also rigged with ball bearings, four AK-47 assault rifles, ammunition and 12 grenades. Police said the that the vests are similar to the type used in attacks in Uganda on crowds watching the soccer World Cup final on TV in July 2010, killing 76 people.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the bombings in Uganda, saying it was in retaliation for Uganda's participation in the African Union's peacekeeping mission in Somalia. Al-Shabab has vowed to carry out terror attacks in Kenya after the country sent troops into Somalia in October to fight the militants.

Mohammed becomes the second Kenyan to admit being a member of the al-Shabab and taking part in terrorism. In October Elgiva Bwire Oliacha, also known as Mohammed Seif, was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to taking part in a grenade attack that killed one person.

During his arrest Oliacha, 28, was found with six guns, 13 grenades and hundreds of bullets in his house in a slum called Kayole in eastern Nairobi (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Indonesian Police Arrest 10 Terror Suspects
Date: September 22, 2012
Source:
Sacramento Bee

Abstract:  An elite Indonesian anti-terror squad has arrested 10 Islamic militants and seized a dozen homemade bombs from a group suspected of planning 
suicide attacks against security forces and the government, police said Sunday.

Eight suspects were arrested Saturday in Central Java's Solo town and a ninth in West Kalimantan on the island of Borneo, national police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said. He said a 10th suspect, Joko Parkit, was arrested Sunday in Solo.

Parkit's brother, Eko Joko Supriyanto, was shot to death by police in 2009 during raids seeking Southeast Asia's most wanted Islamist militant, Noordin M. Top. Noordin was killed by police a year later.

Amar said two of those arrested, Badri Hartono and Rudi Kurnia Putra, worked to recruit young men and taught at least one member of the group how to make bombs.

"They were the central figures of the group who had planned several terror attacks," Amar said. "They recruited, invited young men to be trained in a military-style jihadi camp and bought bomb-making materials."

He said the group planned to bomb the country's Parliament, shoot police and attack members of the anti-terrorism squad as part of a plan to establish Islamic Sharia law in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation.

Police seized 12 homemade bombs along with other partially assembled bombs, three rifles, four swords and several jihadist books.

Solo is the hometown of convicted radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir. Police are investigating possible links between the unnamed group and other terrorism networks, Amar said. Authorities believe it has now been largely broken up, but are continuing to search for other members.

Since March, more than 30 militant suspects have been arrested and seven others killed in a series of raids in Indonesia. All of the suspects are believed to have been plotting domestic attacks, and some attended a military-style training camp in Poso on Sulawesi island.

Another member of the group, alleged bomb maker Muhammad Toriq, surrendered two weeks ago in Jakarta while carrying a gun and wearing a suicide bomber belt that did not contain any explosives. A second militant, Yusuf Rizaldi, gave himself up to police in North Sumatra three days later. Both provided information that led to the arrests of other members of the group in Saturday's raids, Amar said.

Indonesia, a secular nation, has been battling terrorists since 2002, when militants linked to the Southeast Asian network Jemaah Islamiyah began attacking Western nightclubs, restaurants and embassies. More than 260 people have been killed in the attacks, many of them foreign tourists.

Recent terror attacks in Indonesia have been carried out by individuals or small groups and have targeted local "infidels" instead of Westerners, with less deadly results (Sacramento Bee, 2012).

Title: Haqqani Leader Behind Suicide Bombing Arrested: ISAF
Date: October 2, 2012
Source:
Xinhua News

Abstract: A Haqqani leader suspected of supporting a suicide bombing that killed two U.S. soldiers has been arrested in eastern Afghan province of Logar, the coalition said on Tuesday.

"An Afghan and coalition security force today confirmed the arrest of a Haqqani leader suspected of being behind the Sept. 26 suicide attack that killed two coalition service members in Pul-e- Alam district, Logar province," the coalition or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a press release.

A Taliban-linked group of militants, the Haqqani network mostly operates in eastern Afghan provinces and capital Kabul, has been responsible for many high-profile attacks including suicide bombings and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) against security forces.

The security force also detained a number of suspected insurgents, and no civilians were harmed during the operation, it said.

The Afghan forces and some 100,000 coalition troops have intensified cleanup operations against Taliban and other militants but the insurgents in retaliation responded by suicide attacks and roadside bombings.

A total of 14 people, including three ISAF soldiers, were killed and more than 50 others injured by a Taliban suicide bomber in eastern Khost province Monday morning (Xinhua News, 2012).

Title: Man With Strange Watch Arrested At Calif. Airport, Charged With Having Bomb-Making Materials
Date:
November 16, 2012
Source:
Fox News


Abstract:
A Southern California man was arrested at Oakland International Airport after security officers found him wearing an unusual watch they said could be used to make a timing device for a bomb, authorities said Friday.

Geoffrey McGann, 49, of Rancho Palos Verdes was taken into custody Thursday night after he tried to pass through airport security with an ornate watch that had switches, wires and fuses, according to Sgt. J.D. Nelson, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff's Department.

A bomb squad arrived within five minutes and determined there were no explosive materials in the watch, Nelson said. The checkpoint was closed while officers secured the area.

McGann was taken to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin where he was charged with possessing materials to make an explosive device, sheriff's officials said. He was still in custody Friday night and could not be reached for comment.

McGann told Transportation Security Administration officers that he's an artist and the watch is art, Nelson said.

While no actual explosives were found, McGann was carrying potentially dangerous materials and appeared to have made alterations to his boots, which were unusually large and stuffed with layers of insoles, Nelson said.

A profile for a person named Geoffrey McGann on the website LinkedIn.com lists him as the owner and creative director of a media production company called Generator Content. He attended the Art College Center of Design in Pasadena from 1984 to 1987, according to the website (Fox News, 2012).

Title: NYC Man To Be Sentenced In Subway Terror Plot
Date:
November 16, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract:
Prosecutors are seeking life behind bars for a New York City man convicted earlier this year of conspiring to form a three-man terror cell with two of his former high school classmates and spread death on the subways as suicide bombers -- a foiled plot that authorities called one of the closest calls since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Adis Medunjanin, a 28-year-old U.S. citizen from Bosnia, was convicted earlier this year of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, attempting to commit an act of terrorism and other terrorism charges. He is being sentenced Friday afternoon in federal court in Brooklyn.

In court papers, prosecutors have argued for a life term for Medunjanin, saying he "committed a host of heinous crimes aimed at killing and maiming his fellow American citizens in order to alter and take revenge for American foreign policy."

At trial, defense attorneys admitted that Medunjanin wanted to fight for the Taliban, but they insisted he never agreed to spread death and destruction in the city where his family put down roots.

Medunjanin went overseas to fulfill a "romantic version of jihad. ... His plan and intent was to join the Taliban and stand up for what he believes in," defense attorney Robert Gottlieb said in his closing. "That was his purpose."

The trial ending in May was mostly notable because it featured the first-ever testimony from admitted homegrown terrorists about al-Qaida's determination to strike America on its home turf.

The former classmates at a Queens high school, Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay, testified that the three men sought terror training after falling under the influence of inflammatory recordings of U.S.-born extremist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki that they downloaded and listened to on their iPods.

The government's case was built on the testimony of Zazi, Ahmedzay and two other men: a British would-be shoe bomber and a man originally from Long Island who gave al-Qaida pointers on how best to attack a Walmart store.

Zazi and Ahmedzay, who testified as part of plea deal, told jurors that the scheme unfolded after the trio traveled to Pakistan in 2008 to avenge the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

While receiving terror training at outposts in the South Waziristan region of Pakistan, al-Qaida operatives encouraged the American recruits to return home for a suicide-bombing mission intended to spread panic and cripple the economy. Among the targets considered were the New York Stock Exchange, Times Square and Grand Central Terminal, the men testified.

In a later meeting in New York, the plotters decided to strap on bombs and blow themselves up at rush hour on Manhattan subway lines because the transit system is "the heart of everything in New York City," Zazi said.

Zazi told jurors how he learned to extract explosives ingredients from nail polish remover, hydrogen peroxide and other products sold at beauty supply stores. When leaving Pakistan, he relocated to Colorado, where he perfected a homemade detonator in a hotel room and set out for New York City by car around the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The plot -- financed in part by $50,000 in credit card charges -- was abandoned after Zazi noticed that everywhere he drove in New York, a car followed.

"I think law enforcement is on us," he recalled telling Ahmedzay. Later, he said he told Medunjanin in a text message, "We are done."

Aside from Zazi and Ahmedzay, two other convicted terrorists were called as witnesses to give a rare glimpse into al-Qaida's training methods and the mindset of its leadership.

In a videotaped deposition made public for the first time, Saajid Badat recounted a clandestine meeting where Usama bin Laden explained the rationale behind the failed plot for Badat and Richard Reid to attack trans-Atlantic flights with bombs hidden in shoes.

Bin Laden "said the American economy is like a chain," the British man said. "If you break one -- one link of the chain -- the whole economy will be brought down. So after Sept. 11 attacks, this operation will ruin the aviation industry and in turn the whole economy will come down."

Bryant Neal Vinas, of Patchogue on Long Island, testified that he went to Pakistan in 2007 and later joined al-Qaida forces in an attack against American soldiers.

Vinas described how he suggested to others in al-Qaida in the summer of 2008 that they could plant explosives in suitcase aboard a Long Island Rail Road train or hide them inside a television that was being returned to a Walmart.

An attack on the popular retail outlet "would cause a very big economy hit," he said (Fox News, 2012).

Title: ATC Remands 13-Year-Old Suicide Bomber In Police Custody For A Week
Date: November 22, 2012
Source:
Dawn

Abstract:
An Anti-Terrorist Court (ATC) Judge Ibrahim Khan on Wednesday remanded a thirteen-year-old suicide bomber Bilal into police custody for one week and directed for a report about his physical status and age.

The alleged teenage bomber was arrested on Tuesday along with his handler Jahangir from Sarband area on Bara Road, after the Bomb Disposal Squad successfully removed and diffused his suicide vest.

The media was not allowed inside the court, however, the police and other sources present inside the court told that Bilal had given a statement to the court that he was forced to carry the explosive-lade vest by Jahangir on the pretext that it contained cannabis and he had to deliver it to someone at the Bacha Khan International Airport’s gate.

The sources quoted Bilal as saying, “Jahangir had paid me Rs 15000 out of which I gave Rs10000 to my mother and spent Rs 2000 while Rs 3000 are still in my pocket.”

Bilal, according to the sources, had told the court that Jahangir was a school teacher in Bara and used to engage kids through various tactics to carry out illegal acts and he had also lured him to carry the jacket after paying Rs 15000.

The ATC judge, after hearing the case, remanded Bilal, hailing from Bar Qambarkhel area of Bara Tehsil of Khyber Agency, into one-week physical custody of police with the directive to conduct his medical examination and also ascertain his age.

Jahangir, who belonged to Momin Town area of Dalazak Road Peshawar, however, has not yet been produced before the court and is in custody of the authorities (Dawn, 2012).

Title: Chicago Man Sentenced To 10 Years In Suicide-Bomb Plot
Date:
December 11, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: A Chicago man was sentenced Tuesday to nearly 10 years in prison for plotting to attend a Somalia training camp with dreams of becoming a suicide bomber for al-Qaida and another terrorist group, al-Shabab.

Shaker Masri, 29, was sentenced two years after his arrest that relied heavily on an FBI informant. He pleaded guilty in July to trying to provide material support and resources to a terrorist organization. He declined to make a statement in court Tuesday and showed little emotion as U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman announced the sentence.

The Alabama-born Masri allegedly discussed the possibility of killing a busload of U.S. soldiers and about the "heavenly rewards one would receive for martyrdom," according to a government presentencing filing.

Investigators also found copies of extremist literature on Masri's computer, including Osama bin Ladin's 1996 manifesto, "The Declaration of War Against the Americans."

"Shaker Masri did not simply want to offer himself as a soldier to fight in the ranks of a terrorist militia engaged in a bloody civil war, he wanted to die killing others," the presentencing filing said. "Masri's goal was to be a tool of indiscriminate murder."

Masri also allegedly expressed admiration for Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric who is believed to have inspired the 2009 Fort Hood, Texas, shooting rampage and the attempted bombing of a jetliner approaching Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009. A U.S. drone attack killed al-Awlaki last year.

The defense entered a letter from the defendant's older brother to the judge that describes Masri as lively and kind, and "our neighborhood's favorite boy" as they were growing up.

"Older people used to love chatting with him, because he had a wild imagination and would tell fantastic stories," Anas Almasri wrote in the letter filed with the court. "He took genuine interest in people's stories and was always one."

The plea agreement set a recommended prison term of just under 10 years. Had the judge disagreed with that recommendation, the plea deal would have been voided.

Masri is one of several Chicago-area defendants facing terrorism-related charges who decided plead guilty.

Masri's attorney, Thomas A. Durkin, said in July, "Suffice to say, there comes a time when the government makes offers that are difficult to refuse in the light of the potential consequences."

Another man who changed his plea before making it to trial was Sami Samir Hassoun. The Lebanese immigrant pleaded guilty in April to placing a backpack he thought held a bomb near Chicago's Wrigley Field. He is due to be sentenced early next year (Fox News, 2012).

Title: UK Trial Reveals New Al Qaeda “Suicide Bomber” Strategy To Hit West
Date: February 21, 2013
Source:
CNN

Abstract: The trial of three Birmingham men convicted Thursday of plotting to launch a "catastrophic" suicide bombing attack in the United Kingdom revealed that al Qaeda has developed a new strategy to target the West.

The new strategy involves a teacher-training approach in which a select few Western operatives are taught bombmaking and other aspects of terrorist tradecraft in the tribal areas of Pakistan and are then instructed to return back to the West to "spread the knowledge" to a larger body of Islamist extremists keen on launching attacks.

The new approach is a response to the growing toll of drone strikes which have made travel to the tribal areas increasingly perilous for Western recruits and significantly diminished al Qaeda's ability to orchestrate terrorist plots from the region.

The trial revealed that terrorist groups in Pakistan are actively dissuading Western militants from making the trip.

Two of those convicted Thursday - Irfan Naseer and Irfan Khalid - received 40 days of terrorist training in the tribal areas of Pakistan in the spring of 2011, mostly inside houses in the valleys of Waziristan.

In conversations bugged by British police, the plotters described being handled by al Qaeda operatives and having attended a training camp run by Harakat al Mujahideen, a Pakistani terrorist group closely affiliated with al Qaeda.

The recordings revealed that like other Western militants before them, they were provided detailed instruction in the tricky and potentially hazardous methods to make bombs out of substances readily available in the West, and practiced detonating them. Their instructors included Arabs and Pakistanis.

They also were taught how to put poisons in face creams.

And their teachers emphasized they should put nails inside their bombs, to act as razor-sharp shrapnel.

Naseer, a pharmacy major and the plot's alleged ringleader, was heard recalling how one of their trainers had said the July 7, 2005, London bombers had missed an opportunity to kill more people by failing to put nails in their devices.

Naseer commented on how they were given so much information that they had accumulated 30-40 pages of notes.

They were told the smaller the cell they recruited the better, illustrating al Qaeda's move away from spectacular attacks on the 9/11 scale toward smaller strikes that have a better chance of getting through.

In the recordings played in court, Naseer said his cell should keep the numbers launching the attack in the United Kingdom to around half a dozen. The recordings, however, indicated the cell's plans grew increasingly ambitious with talk of launching an attack bigger than the 2005 London bombings.

The need for less ambitious attacks was previously stressed by two senior American al Qaeda operatives: al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and Adnan Shukrijumah, an operative believed to be still at large in Pakistan.

An internal al Qaeda strategy document, authored in around 2009, and recovered in 2011 from a Berlin operative, had called for a greater emphasis on low-cost low-tech attacks by Western militants, whom it said should be quickly trained in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

Teaching Westerners to teach back home
In Pakistan, Naseer and Khalid's al Qaeda handlers had a new "command" for them: go back and teach others.

Naseer is heard talking with an associate, keen on traveling to Pakistan, that he and Khalid wanted to stay in the United Kingdom to participate in the plot.

"AQ's main aim is... the knowledge that they give us, [they] want more and more people [to] have [the knowledge] in Europe. So they can start whacking [attacking] there, yeah, do you understand?

Analysts say that if al Qaeda manages to put into practice their new teacher training model, it will raise alarm bells with Western security services because it would reduce the need for Western militants to travel overseas for terrorist training.

"This seems to be a product of al Qaeda's desperation to try to get an attack through, but it's a potentially scary development," Raffaello Pantucci, a senior fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, who closely followed the trial, told CNN.

While Islamists militants have access to many bombmaking recipes online, analysts say they often contain potentially fatal errors and have been seen by militants as a poor substitute to hands-on training by an instructor schooled in the art of bombmaking.

Security services fear the presence of such instructors on Western soil could be a game changer.

Message from al Qaeda: Stay Put
The Birmingham case revealed that al Qaeda had begun actively dissuading recruits from going to Pakistan.

"They told me don't send anyone [more to us]," plot ringleader Naseer said in one of the recordings.

In a June 2011 video "You are Only Responsible for Yourself," released around the same time the Birmingham duo trained in Pakistan, al Qaeda's leadership in Pakistan had urged Western militants to stay home to launch attacks.

Khalid, in one conversation recorded by British police, pointed out that Inspire magazine - the online English publication of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen - had the same advice: "we don't want people to be traveling cos it's getting risky." In 2011 Samir Khan, an American member of the group, urged followers to launch attacks in the West rather than travellng to Yemen.

Naseer and Khalid painted a dim picture of the tribal areas of Pakistan in their attempt to stop their associate from traveling there.

"[Waziristan] hasn't got no more camps now... the brothers used to be in the mountains [but] the drones just get them straight away, they just bomb the camps, so ... they taught us inside houses," Naseer is heard telling the associate in the recordings played in court.

He described how he had had to cower for several hours in 100-degree heat when a drone circled above. "That day was bad ... it's a nasty situation to be in, man," chipped in Khalid.

Khalid described how the drones restricted movement for fighters in the region: "They were restricted to one place most of the time: One place to eat, sleep, go to toilet and do everything."

Terror training on UK soil
Naseer and Khalid implemented the new al Qaeda strategy when they returned to the United Kingdom. Just days before their arrest on September 18, 2011, Naseer provided Ashik Ali, the third Birmingham man convicted Thursday, with hands-on instruction in how to make explosives.
According to expert witnesses consulted in the trial, Naseer had acquired the correct knowledge to teach recruits how to make viable bombs. The recordings suggested their planned attacks were still months away.

In one of the bugged conversations, Naseer is heard suggesting that the restrictions on training in Pakistan meant it was just as effective training recruits in the West.

"[In the tribal areas] you get bit of an experience in fighting - but you know the rest of the stuff that could be taught - they taught us in a room."

At one point, Naseer warned Ali that if he hit or rubbed the explosives in a certain way it could explode and potentially kill him; just one of the many lessons he passed on from his training in Waziristan.

In the days before their arrest, Naseer experimented and tinkered with potential bombmaking chemicals in a Birmingham apartment, including the chemicals inside sports injury cold packs. The recordings revealed that his instructors in Pakistan had taught him that ammonium nitrate- – a potentially high powered explosive - could be extracted from such packs, demonstrating al Qaeda's continued inventiveness.

Pantucci told CNN the Birmingham case illustrated that despite intensified drone strikes in Pakistan, Western militants were still finding ways to connect with al Qaeda in the region, providing the terrorist groups opportunities to attack the West.

He said al Qaeda's new emphasis on training Westerners to in turn provide terrorist instruction in the West reflected the group's looser control over plots than just a few years ago.

Unlike the 7/7 bombers, and other recent terrorist conspiracies like a plot to attack Manchester in 2009, the Birmingham plotters do not appear to have been in touch with their handlers in Pakistan after returning to the United Kingdom.

Pantucci says the pressures on al Qaeda have resulted in a shift toward a new model of "fire and forget."

The March 2012 Toulouse terrorist shootings provided further evidence of looser control by al Qaeda of terrorist plots in the West. The perpetrator of the attack - Mohammed Merah - was encouraged by the group to return to France to launch an attack during a short stay in the tribal areas of Pakistan in September 2011 but planned every aspect of the operation himself, including which targets to strike (CNN, 2013).

Title: Pennsylvania 'Suicide Bomber' Used 1,600lb Device Similar To Oklahoma City Bomb As Shocking Aftermath Is Revealed
Date: March 20, 2013
Source:
Daily Mail

Abstract: A man who blew himself up outside a Pennsylvania home - injuring two others in what is believed to be a terrifying act of revenge - had tried to kill himself in the same fashion before, it has been revealed.

Brad Kollar, 40, used a 1,600-pound fertilizer bomb (similar to the ones used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing) last summer, months after he was arrested on charges of  possession of a controlled substance and chop shop charges, a prosecutor said.

Cambria County DA Kelly Callihan said her office asked a judge to revoke Kollar's bond after learning of the suicide attempt, which he discussed with his ex-girlfriend in a call that was recorded because she was in jail.

But Kollar's attorney objected and the judge agreed to let him remain free on bond while illegal possession of chemicals and stolen vehicle charges against him wound their way through the courts, Callihan said.

Kollar told the woman he was stressed about those legal troubles and tried to light the bomb's fuse three times, only to have it fail.

The Oklahoma City bombing - The United States' worst terror attack prior to 9/11
At 9:02 a.m. on April 19, 1995, a 5,000-pound bomb, hidden inside a Ryder truck, exploded just outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The explosion caused massive damage to the building and killed 168 people, 19 of whom were children. Those responsible for what became known as the Oklahoma City Bombing were home-grown terrorists, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. This deadly bombing was the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil until the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attack.

'Three times. When I talk about it, it makes my hair stand up,' Kollar said in the recording.

A transcript of the bomb hearing shows the judge refused to revoke Kollar's bond because he was never charged with making it and didn't threaten to use it on anyone else.

But on Tuesday morning, he did use it on someone else, driving to the home of 44-year-old William Shaner, whom Kollar believed had tipped off cops prior to his arrest.

Kollar's body was discovered inside his truck that was parked outside a home near Patton, about 70 miles east of Pittsburgh. The truck had been loaded with explosives.

Sources told The Tribune-Democrat that Kollar packed his car with explosives to get revenge on Mr Shaner, whom he believed had 'snitched' on him and his father, John Kollar, 64, who were arrested last year on possession of a controlled substance and chop shop charges.

The two were taken into custody on March 6, 2012, after authorities raided their home and found what they believed to be a meth lab.

Both the father and son were out on bail, but at the time of the Tuesday's blast, Brad Kollar was due in court for sentencing. He reportedly faced more than 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $100,000.

Deceased: 40-year old Brad Kollar's body was found inside his truck, with bombs strapped to himself outside a house in Pennsylvania

Mr Shaner was inside the building at the time of the explosion and was taken to Altoona Regional hospital. He was later flown to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

In an update posted to her Facebook page, Mr Shaner's wife Linda - who had been at work - said that her husband was still in bed and one of their sons was brushing his teeth.

The son, Ryan Shaner, had gotten out of the home and was helping his father out of the rubble when neighbors and drivers in the area rushed over to help.

Ryan was treated for minor cuts and scrapes, while his father was hospitalized for a skull fracture, six fractured ribs, and two fractured vertebrae. He underwent surgery last night.

Linda Shaner posted: 'It's going to be long road but we will make it through, there is too many on our side!!!! I love you all & again THANK YOU from me & my family !!!!'

The couple's other two children were not in the house, which was leveled by the force of the explosion.

Debris was strewn about the street in the aftermath of the explosion - which has left the neighborhood in shock.

'I just think it's scary, this close to home,' Luke J. Lansberry, whose house faces the destroyed home, told The (Altoona) Mirror.

'There's a bunch of kids that live around here,' added Randy Slovikosky, who owns a nearby landscaping business.

Hero: Moments after the blast, William Shaner, left, was helped out of the rubble of the home by his son Ryan, right, who had been brushing his teeth at the time

Officials from the Pennsylvania State Police, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were at the scene on Wednesday, scouring through debris to find out what kind of explosives were used.

ATF special agent Steve Bartholomew confirmed that the agency was involved in the investigation, but declined to provide details, citing the ongoing investigation.

Police and other investigators originally believed a methamphetamine lab might have been to blame for the blast not far from Route 36.

Trooper John Matchik said investigators had called the agency's Hazardous Device and Explosive Squad from Harrisburg to sift through a large area of debris to determine what leveled the home down to its foundation.

Police are in the process of speaking with the hospitalized men, Matchik said.

'We are following up with information and conducting things very, very methodically,' he told the Mirror.

'We want to make sure we don’t overlook anything.'

Mr Kollar was arrested, along with his father John Andrew Kollar, on March 6, 2012.

Police found stolen vehicles, explosives and chemicals, believed to be the precursors to setting up a meth lab, on the family's property.

The man's father was not available for comment after his son's suicide. 

Bradley Kollar’s mental status had reportedly been a concern for authorities for some time.

Court records show the DA's office tried unsuccessfully to have Kollar's bail revoked after receiving reports that he was contemplating suicide and may have access to explosives, according to the Tribune-Democrat.

Neighbors who lived near Kollar described him as a promising and bright man with a troubled past, according to WJACTV.com (Daily Mail, 2013).