Title: Officials Watch For Terrorists With Body Bombs On US-Bound Planes
Date: April 30, 2012
Source: ABC News
Abstract: With the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death looming, American and European authorities told ABC News today that they fear al Qaeda may soon try to explode U.S.-bound aircraft with explosives hidden inside the bodies of terrorists.
As a result, security at several airports in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe and the Middle East has been substantially stepped up, with a focus on U.S. carriers.
Additional federal air marshals have also been shifted overseas in advance of the anniversary. A year ago Tuesday night, President Obama announced on live television that bin Laden had been killed in a U.S. raid on a compound in Pakistan.
Medical experts say there is plenty of room in the stomach area of the body for surgically implanted explosives. "The surgeon would open the abdominal cavity and literally implant the explosive device in amongst the internal organs," explained Dr. Mark Melrose, a New York emergency medicine specialist.
For the last year, U.S. and European authorities have publicly warned that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al Qaeda's Yemeni affiliate, and its master bomb-maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, have been designing body bombs with no metal parts to get past airport security.
"We are treating the information seriously," John Pistole, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, told ABC News in 2011.
Asiri placed a bomb inside the rectal cavity of his own brother for a suicide mission aimed at Saudi Arabian intelligence chief Prince Muhammad bin Nayef in 2009. That bomb exploded prematurely, officials said, and the only casualty was Asiri's brother 23-yearold brother Abdullah. Asiri is also believed responsible for the "underwear bomb" with which Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to take down Northwest flight 253 on Christmas 2009, and for the printer bombs in the failed cargo bomb plot of 2010.
In public, U.S. officials say there is no credible information of an impending attack. Department of Homeland Security spokesman Peter Boogaard released a statement Monday evening saying, "We have no indication of any specific, credible threats or plots against the U.S. tied to the one-year anniversary of bin Laden's death."
But earlier Monday, White House counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan called the al Qaeda group in Yemen the greatest threat to the U.S.
"AQAP continues to be al Qaeda's most active affiliate, and it continues to seek the opportunity to strike our homeland," said Brennan during a speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C.
Brennan said bin Laden admitted al Qaeda had lost its way, agreeing that "a large portion" of Muslims around the world "have lost their trust" in al Qaeda.
Confessing to "disaster after disaster" in al Qaeda plots, Brennan said, bin Laden urged leaders to feel to places "away from aircraft photography and bombardment" (ABC News, 2012).
Title: Plastic Explosives: Al-Qaeda-Trained Surgeons Put The Bomb In Suicide Bombers
Date: May 13, 2012
Abstract: The hunt is on for doctors implanting explosives in suicide bombers in Yemen. Security has been stepped up at airports worldwide as surgically-doctored terrorists plot revenge attacks following the one-year anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s death.
The implanted bombs would be undetectable to airport body scanners, dramatically increasing the likelihood of a mid-flight terrorist attack, the Daily mail reports.
Experts say explosive compounds such as PETN (pentaerythritol tetranitrate) could be inserted inside of would-be bombers.
The implanted explosives would then be detonated via injection.
A western security source is quoted by the Sunday Times as saying: “This is a transferable skill and there is still some concern.”
Western intelligence agencies fear doctors are currently working with Al-Qaeda’s chief bomb maker in Yemen, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, to realize his plans.
The CIA is now racing against the clock to catch the ‘body-bombers’ before they go off.
Al-Asiri’s bomb plots have had a particularly intimate touch in recent years.
He was responsible for sewing a packet of PETN into Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s underwear in the failed 2009 Christmas Day bombing on a US jetliner en route to Detroit. Al-Asiri also shoved a bomb up his brother Abdullah’s rectum in a botched 2009 suicide mission targeting Saudi intelligence chief Prince Muhammad bin Nayef.
Saudi fugitive and bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri.(Reuters / Saudi Interior Ministry / Handout)
Al-Qaeda in Yemen is considered the group’s most dangerous off-shoot.
A would-be suicide bomber turned double-agent working with the group managed to get his hands on an updated version of al-Asiri’s underwear bomb last week. Saudi spooks planted the agent in al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate, who convinced his handlers to give him the bomb aimed at bringing down a US-bound flight.
The device is now in the possession of the FBI, which is currently analyzing it.
The latest non-metallic bomb would not set off metal detectors, but could be discovered by body scanners and more thorough security checks.
However, not all US airports are equipped with body scanners (RT, 2012).
Al-Qaeda’s ‘Suicide Bombers Wanted’ Ad
Date: August 14, 2012
Source: Times of Israel
Abstract: A Apparently low on bombers, al-Qaeda is running a (short-term) employment advertisement on its Shumukh al-Islam Internet forum. Under the heading “Area of activity: The planet Earth,” the ad seeks jihadists to carry out suicide attacks.
Applicants must be Muslim, mentally mature, dedicated, able to listen, and utterly committed to completing their mission, the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Tuesday.
Several email addresses are provided for applicants. While their real names are not required, candidates are asked to send details of their nickname or handle, their age, marital status, languages spoken and a list of passports in their possession.
The ad on the forum, which is accessible only to al-Qaeda members, specifies the targets of the terror attacks that applicants will be expected to carry out, including “People who fight Islam and Muslims” and enemy “financial, military and media targets.”
The ad indicates that the anticipated attacks will be solo operations: “Only one person will be in charge. He will gather all of the intelligence, he will prepare the operation — and he will complete the attack.” However, it continues, “a military panel” will oversee the bomber’s training and select the target.
The job description promises only a “very slight chance of being caught.”
The ad has elicited
several positive responses, the Yedioth article claimed. One forum participant
requested that Germany, Denmark and Sweden be specified as potential targets.
The same participant warned the forum to be very careful about what it
publishes, for fear that the enemy may see what the group is planning (Times of Israel, 2012).
Self-Immolation: China Police Offer Reward For Info On "Planned"
Date: October 26, 2012
Source: Hindustan Times
Abstract: Rights groups have sounded a warning about the worsening situation in Tibet after a fourth Tibetan man self-immolated and died on Friday demanding freedom for his community. This was the fourth case of self-immolation in the past seven days; the total number of such cases is nearing 60, rights groups said.
Friday’s case comes within two days of the Chinese government blaming the India-based Tibetan spiritual guru Dalai Lama and his “clique” for instigating the large number of protest suicides in remote parts of western China with an ethnic Tibetan population.
“24-year-old Lhamo Tseten walked out of the restaurant where he had been eating with friends and set himself on fire at 2:30 pm (local time) today close to the military camp and the local court building in Achok Township, Sangchu County, Kanlho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Eastern Tibet. His friends and many local people saw him engulfed by the flames.
According to an eyewitness he called out for freedom in Tibet and for the return of the Dalai Lama,’’ London-based Free Tibet said in a statement. Tseten died at the spot.
According to Associated Press, the official Xinhua News Agency on Friday reported the self-immolation of a Tibetan man by the same name, though details were slightly different. Xinhua said Lhamo Tseten was a 23-year-old villager and that he set himself alight near a hospital.
“This fourth self-immolation in the space of a week underlines that protests in Tibet are continuing and intensifying. We can only expect this to continue until Tibetans are granted the freedom they demand,” Free Tibet’s Stephani Brigden said in the statement.
Meanwhile, according to the US-based International Campaign for Tibet Chinese security authorities have posted notices in some Tibetan areas in western China offering substantial rewards for information about “black hand” behind four recent Tibetan self-immolations in Gansu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
A reward of $7,700 (which is more than 47000 Yuan) has been offered for information about planned self-immolations.According to ICT: “The notice reflects the authorities’ hardline position, ascribing blame to the “Dalai clique” and “sabotage by separatist forces in our territory and abroad” for the four self-immolations that have happened in Gannan prefecture in just over a week” (Hindustan Times, 2012).
Title: US Issues Worldwide Caution To Its Citizens Of Terror Threats
Date: February 20, 2013
Source: India Times
Abstract: The United States has issued a worldwide travel alert to its citizens including in South Asia where it said terrorist outfits like al-Qaida, the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba ( LeT) might harm them.
"US citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness," the State Department said in a statement yesterday.
Noting that current information suggests that al-Qaida, its affiliated organisations, and other terrorist outfits continue to plan terrorist attacks against US interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, the State Department said these attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings and bombings.
It said extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests.
Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, and other tourist destinations both in the United States and abroad where the country's citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays, the State Department said.
In South Asia, the presence of al-Qaida, Taliban elements, indigenous sectarian groups, and other terror organisations, many of which are on the US government's list of Foreign Terror Organisations (FTOs), poses a potential danger to US citizens in the region, it said.
Terrorists and their sympathisers have demonstrated their willingness and ability to attack targets where US citizens or Westerners are known to congregate or visit.
According to the State Department, anti-Western terrorist groups, some on the US government's list of FTOs, have been active in India, including Islamist extremist groups such as Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami, Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Indian Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e Taiba.
Terrorists have targeted public places in India frequented by Westerners, including luxury and other hotels, trains, train stations, markets, cinemas, mosques, and restaurants in large urban areas, it added (India Times, 2013).