ISIS claims responsibility for Egypt's Palm Sunday church bombings

By Joe Sterling, Faith Karimi, Mohammed Tawfeeq and Hamdi Alkhshali, CNN

Sun April 9, 2017

(CNN)ISIS claimed responsibility for bombings that killed 43 at two Coptic churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday -- brazen strikes against a vulnerable minority on one of the most important days on the Christian calendar.

ISIS issued the claim on the Telegram messaging platform. The claim was circulated by several ISIS supporters. ISIS identified the suicide bombers as Egyptian nationals. Egyptian authorities have not confirmed the bombers' nationalities.

In their claim of responsibility, ISIS warned of more attacks with this message: "The Crusaders and their tails from the apostates must be aware that the bill between us and them is very large and they will be paying it like a river of blood from their sons, if God willing."

The first blast was in the northern city of Tanta, where a powerful explosion ripped through a Palm Sunday service at St. George's Church, killing 27 people and wounding 78 others, state TV reported. The explosive device was planted under a seat in the main prayer hall, it said.

Not long after that, at least 16 people were killed and 41 others wounded in a suicide bomb attack outside St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria, according to two state-news outlets. Egyptian state media also reported that the head of Egypt's Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, was inside the cathedral when the blast happened. He was not injured.

In a statement, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi condemned the attacks, saying the "outrageous" action "targets both the Copts and Muslims of the homeland." He ordered investigators to "hunt down the perpetrators" and "take all measures to offer the necessary care for the wounded."

He called an urgent meeting of his country's National Defense Council and declared three days of nationwide mourning.

"The attack will not undermine the resolve and true will of the Egyptian people to counter the forces of evil, but will only harden their determination to move forward on their trajectory to realize security, stability and comprehensive development," the statement said.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres also condemned the attacks and offered his sympathies to the victims and to the country in statement through a spokesman.

Guterres "wishes a quick recovery to those injured and hopes that the perpetrators of this horrific terrorist act will be swiftly identified and brought to justice," the spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, said.

The US State Department, in a statement, also issued a rebuke, calling the bombings "barbaric attacks on Christian places of worship."

"The United States will continue to support Egypt's security and stability in its efforts to defeat terrorism," said acting spokesperson Mark Toner.

The horrific attacks were the latest against Christians in the region, this time on Palm Sunday -- the Sunday before Easter, and the day that marks the start of Holy Week for Christians.

Nile and Masriya TV, Egyptian state outlets, aired black banners in the upper left of its newscasts to signify mourning for the victims of both explosions.

News footage from Tanta shows people gathering at the church, singing hymns. The video then quickly switches to bars as harrowing screams and cries echo in the background.

"Everything is destroyed inside the church" and blood can be seen on marble pillars, said Peter Kamel, who saw the aftermath of the carnage.

It appeared the explosive device was placed near the altar, he said. Priests and the church choir were among the casualties.

In Alexandria, the Interior Ministry said in a statement that police assigned to St. Mark's stopped a terrorist with an explosive belt from breaking into the church. Along with civilians, a policeman, a policewoman and other police staff were killed.

Egyptian blogger Maged Butter told CNN he saw five or six ambulances and blood stains 100 meters away from the site of the explosion -- which happened near the church gate.

He said women were crying and looking for their loved ones and were yelling at police for "not protecting" them.

"Every now and then, I see a person crying -- I think they are Christian -- and they keep saying: 'have you seen my family? Have you seen my family?' " Butter said.

Fadi Sami, another witness, was inside the Alexandria cathedral when he heard about the church bombing in Tanta, when the Coptic pope was leading the prayers for Palm Sunday.

And even though no one announced the Tanta news, Sami said he could hear the sadness in the pope's voice. He left as the pope finished the sermon. Twenty minutes later, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the gate of the church.

"I came back and the area was covered in smoke. The stores around the church were all destroyed," he said. "There were bodies and body parts everywhere, outside and inside the gate. I saw a man put together what was left of his son in a bag."

Alexandria sits on the Mediterranean and has a large Christian population. Downtown is usually busy but was relatively quiet on Sunday because of the holiday. "This is usually a very busy area, but thank God it is a Sunday, and many shops are closed," he said.

Copts in Egypt have faced persecution and discrimination that has spiked since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak's regime in 2011.

Dozens have been killed in sectarian violence. In December, an attack at a Coptic church in Cairo killed 25 people.

Coptic churches and homes have been set on fire, members of the Coptic minority have been physically attacked, and their property has been looted, rights group Amnesty International reported in March.

Coptic Christians make up about 10% of Egypt's population of 91 million. They base their theology on the teachings of the apostle Mark, who introduced Christianity to Egypt. Tanta is roughly 60 miles (96 kilometers) north of Cairo, in the Nile delta.

The bombings come days after President Donald Trump welcomed el-Sisi to Washington and stressed his support for Egypt. Among the topics of mutual concern were terrorism and ISIS. Trump tweeted a condemnation of Sunday's attacks and said he has "great confidence el-Sisi will handle the situation properly."

El-Sisi met Saturday with a US congressional delegation led by US Rep. Darrell Issa, the Egyptian government said. The meeting addressed Egypt's counterterrorism efforts and a strategy to fight terror while encouraging religious tolerance and acceptance of others.

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Cairo this month, where he will meet with various religious leaders, including the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church. He expressed his grief following the church attack.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, called the attacks "evil" and urged people to pray for the victims. Russia's President Vladimir Putin condemned the attack and offered his condolences to el-Sisi, according to Russia's state-run Tass.

Female suicide bombers kill dozens in Nigeria

Associated Press
February 10, 2016

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria - Two female suicide bombers blew themselves up in a northeast Nigerian refugee camp, killing at least 56 people, health and rescue officials said Wednesday.

A third woman bomber was arrested and has given officials information about other planned bombings that helped them increase security at the camp, said an official of the Borno State Emergency Management Agency.

Some 78 people are being treated for wounds from the twin explosions that occurred Tuesday morning in a camp of some 50,000 people driven from their homes by the Boko Haram Islamic uprising, according to health workers in Maiduguri, the biggest city in northeastern Nigeria and birthplace of Boko Haram. They spoke on condition of anonymity as did rescue officials who said they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

The emergency management official said 51 bodies were buried Wednesday in Dikwa, the scene of the carnage 53 miles northeast of Maiduguri. Health workers said five bodies were brought to the main hospital in Maiduguri. The officials said poor cell phone service delayed news of the attack.

Boko Haram's 6-year-old Islamic insurgency has killed 20,000 people, made 2.5 million homeless and spread across Nigeria's borders.

Gov. Midjiyawa Bakari of neighboring Cameroon's Far North province said two suicide bombers believed to have come from Nigeria on Wednesday killed 10 people and injured 40 attending a wake in a border village, including children. Attacks in Chad and Niger also are blamed on Boko Haram.

Since troops from Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon last year drove the Islamic extremists from towns and villages where they had announced an Islamic caliphate and ruled with their strict interpretation of Islamic law, the insurgents have taken to attacking soft targets such as mosques and market places where many people gather.

Bomber sucked out of plane may have hid explosive in laptop

By Yaron Steinbuch
February 5, 2016
New York Post

The suicide bomber who was sucked to his death from an airliner over Somalia may have hidden a bomb inside a laptop computer, according to a report.

The explosive contained military-grade TNT, CNN reported, citing a source familiar with the investigation.

Meanwhile, Somali and international investigators have confirmed that the man ejected from the Daallo Airlines Airbus A321 was the suicide bomber, an official briefed on the probe told The Wall Street Journal.

Authorities have identified the man as Abdullahi Abdisalam Borle, 55, from the breakaway region of Somaliland in northern Somalia.

He used a wheelchair to circumvent security measures at the Mogadishu airport, the Journal reported.

A security officer at the airport said the wheelchair-bound man did not appear suspicious, just sick.

“He seemed like someone ill, and as officers we usually help elderly people with those wheelchairs when they come to get to flights,” Saida Bare said. “He was a quiet man and nothing seemed wrong there until the flight took off.”

The explosion blew a hole in the fuselage of the ­Djibouti-bound plane and forced the pilot to return to the Somali capital for an emergency landing. Two people were injured.

On Friday, an official told the Journal that TNT residue had been found on the man’s remains, which landed near the town of Balad, 20 miles from Mogadishu.

At first, the Somali government blamed the explosion on a mechanical problem, but aviation and transport officials later said authorities were trying to get the “real cause of the plane incident.”

Mohammed Ibrahim Yassin, head of the Dubai-based airline, said that while he couldn’t confirm Borle was the bomber, it would explain why members of his family haven’t come forward.

“Nobody is coming forward and saying, ‘We know this passenger,’ ” Yassin explained.

British extremists linked to jet bomb: London & Birmingham voices heard cheering disaster

BRITISH extremists were behind the bombing of a Russian jet over Egypt, intelligence experts believe.


Mon, Nov 9, 2015

They were overheard celebrating moments after the explosion that blew the plane apart, killing all 224 on board.

The jihadis were heard talking in Birmingham and London accents by spies at GCHQ in Cheltenham.

Trained in Syria and with an electronics background, it is believed they may have had a hand in building the bomb.

The success of the attack could inspire them to target British airports next, a former Special Branch officer warned last night.

GCHQ, the Government’s secret listening centre, picked up “chatter” from extremist groups in Egypt immediately after the Russian plane came down.

The regional accents suggest “a definite and strong link” between British extremists and the attack, according to intelligence sources.

“Jihadis in the Sinai area of Egypt could be heard celebrating,” one source said yesterday.

“A closer analysis of that material has identified London and Birmingham accents among those numerous voices.

“There has also been some internet traffic suggesting that there was British involvement in the attack. This was a very sophisticated, carefully planned operation involving many moving parts.

“We know there are British jihadis in Egypt fighting with members of Islamic State. They were trained in Syria and are now hardened terrorists. Some of the Britons have an electronics background and have been developing some very sophisticated bombs.

“They have been experimenting with different-sized charges and different types of explosives but there was nothing prior to this attack to suggest that they were going after airlines.”

The choice of a Russian airliner is thought to have been a deliberate attempt to goad President Vladmir Putin.

But the terrorists could now switch their attention back home.

Former Special Branch detective Chris Hobbs said British-born extremists who have learned bombmaking skills while fighting in Syria will have slipped under the radar to return to the UK.

“There is a growing concern that these individuals will use their newly learnt skills to try to down an airliner here,” he said.

“Airport security here in the UK is very good but it can never be 100 per cent.”

As a senior detective, Mr Hobbs spent more than a third of his 32-year service working at Heathrow, Gatwick and in the Caribbean, focusing on drug dealers who were trying to exploit weaknesses in airport security systems.

He said improved security was needed, including police screening of all passengers but planned cuts would make this far more difficult.

‘‘In my view counter-terrorism measures need to be stepped up but that will be difficult because a Home Office review of counter-terrorist policing at air and sea ports is believed to be looking to make £12million in cuts.

“We must be the only country in the world faced with a major terrorist threat who are actively imposing drastic cuts upon their law enforcement bodies.”

It is suspected that Sinai jihadis smuggled a bomb into Sharm El Sheikh airport in Egypt before someone else working on the inside placed the device in the hold of the Russian passenger jet. “If that is what happened it would have needed a degree of planning,” said Mr Hobbs.

“You have to assume that jubilant jihadists will attempt something similar elsewhere in the world, including Britain.

“One area we need to look at is security for those who work airside at airports. They have to go through the same rigorous scanning procedures as passengers when they go to work, but each vehicle cannot be as comprehensively checked without bringing the airport to a halt.

“It would be possible to hide a device inside a vehicle and then retrieve the device when the rogue employee is airside.

“Then it could be passed on to a security-checked passenger who could carry it on to an aircraft before becoming a martyr or possibly even placed into an unsuspecting passenger’s hold baggage if that rogue employee is involved in baggage handling.

“I think the fall-out of the Russian tragedy will be a tightening of security, which will be difficult to achieve with further cuts to policing and the UK Border Force an inevitable result of the forthcoming spending review.”

He added: “An argument will be made that even with cuts to police and the UK Border Force, improved security can be achieved with better efficiency, which frankly is nonsense.”

Security at Heathrow and other British airports was tightened in 2006 after police foiled a plot to detonate liquid explosives on seven airliners.

Restrictions on carrying liquids on to planes are still in force today.

In December 2001, Briton Richard Reid attempted to detonate explosives packed into the shoes he was wearing on a flight between Paris and Miami.

In 2007, terrorists rammed Glasgow International Airport with a jeep loaded with propane gas canisters, the first terror attack in Scotland since the Lockerbie bombing in December 1988.

And in 2009, Umar Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian who had lived and studied in London, hid explosives in his underwear and attempted to bring down an airliner during a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

Indonesia's bomb-makers at large

BBC News

The men believed to have masterminded the 2004 bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta, and built the bombs used in other recent attacks, are still on the run.

Police have been on their trail since the 2002 Bali bombings.

Two men are believed to have built the bombs used in that attack.

Azahari Husin, a 45-year-old Malaysian university lecturer, and Dulmatin, a 32-year-old electronics expert, were named as chief bomb-makers by another suspect, Ali Imron, who was given a life sentence for his role in the attack, and who has co-operated with the police.

Both men are believed to belong to the militant Islamic group Jemaah Islamiah (JI), accused of carrying out the Bali bombings.

JI, which has often been linked to al-Qaeda, is believed to control a network stretching across Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Smaller cells might also exist in Cambodia, Vietnam, and even Australia.

Its principal goals are the establishment of Islamic governments across the region, followed by the formation of a unified South East Asian Islamic state.

University lecturer

Azahari Husin is alleged to be JI's top bomb-making expert.

He gained a doctorate from Britain's University of Reading, and used to work as a former university lecturer in Malaysia.

A married father of two, he is said by some to be a fanatic, ready to die for his cause.

He is believed to have given bomb-making classes to JI militants, and to have issued precise instructions on how the massive car bomb used at the Sari club in Bali was to be manufactured.

As well as technical bomb-making expertise, he is also alleged to have been a key figure at the JI planning meeting which selected Bali as a target.

Dulmatin, also known as Joko Pitono and nicknamed Genius, is a technician and electronics expert.

He is believed to have worked with Azahari Husin to assemble the massive car bomb as well as the explosives vest used by a suicide bomber who attacked the nearby Paddy's Bar, just moments before the explosion at the Sari club.

Indonesian police were successful in catching up with most of the group which carried out the bombings, and several are now in jail and facing execution.

But Azahari Husin and Dulmatin have managed to evade the police hunt, sometimes by the narrowest of margins - police think they have come within minutes of catching Azahari Husin on different occasions.

Since the Bali attacks, Azahari Husin has been more closely linked with another Malaysian, Noordin Mohammed Top.

The two are believed to have built the bomb used in the 2003 attack on Jakarta's JW Marriott hotel, and to have masterminded the September attack on the Australian embassy.

Analysts point out that as long as such men remain at large, the threat of further attacks in Indonesia remains very much alive.

The group they are alleged to belong to, JI, was formed in the mid-1980s by two Indonesian clerics. It evolved its terrorist edge in the mid-1990s when one of its founders, the late Abdullah Sungkar, established contact with Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, academics and intelligence experts believe.

While Abdullah Sungkar oversaw JI's political and strategic development, several South East Asian intelligence agencies name Abu Bakar Ba'asyir as the group's spiritual leader.

He is currently on trial facing charges relating to the 2002 Bali attacks and the 2003 Marriott hotel bombing in Jakarta.


Blair blasts Muslim extremists

British leader ready to toughen stance on 'evil ideology' as police release a video image of suspected bombers

July 17, 2005

LONDON -- Prime Minister Tony Blair issued a blistering attack yesterday on radical Muslims' "perversion of religious faith" and hinted at far tougher anti-terror moves as the death toll from last week's bombings rose to 55 and police released a chilling photograph of the four attackers heading to the train that carried them to their fatal mission.

Police said the picture, captured from among thousands of surveillance tapes police have been scanning since the July 7 blasts, showed the men as they strode together with backpacks carrying the bombs that ripped through three Underground trains and a London bus. For the first time, police confirmed the identities of all four suspects: Germaine Lindsay, 19; Mohammed Sidique Khan, 30; Hasid Mir Hussain, 18, and Shahzad Tanweer, 22. All died in the explosions, which police believe were masterminded by someone still at large.

Egyptian authorities continued questioning Magdy Mahmoud Mustafa el-Nashar, 33, an Egyptian-born chemist who lived in Leeds, England, and appeared to have known at least some of the bombers. He was arrested Friday in Cairo after explosives were found in the bathtub of his Leeds apartment, authorities said. El-Nashar has denied any knowledge of the attacks. The violence has prompted calls by some in government to crack down on Islamic extremists in Britain. New measures proposed by government officials in recent days would make it easier to deport extremists and to bar entry to those already rejected by other countries.

Blair did not mention the proposals in his speech but made clear he saw toughening of laws as crucial, along with dialogue with Muslim groups and help from Muslim leaders beyond simple condemnations of violence.

"What we are confronting here is an evil ideology," he said. "This is a battle that must be won, a battle not just about the terrorist methods but their views. Not just their barbaric acts, but their barbaric ideas. Not only what they do, but what they think and the thinking they would impose on others."

Many Muslims, and the family of at least one bomber, have said they believe the attackers were brainwashed by radical clergy, who Blair said had taken advantage of "our tolerance and good nature" to gain a foothold in Europe and to target Muslims such as those recruited for the London attacks - young men born, raised and educated in Britain.

"This is what we are up against," he said. "It cannot be beaten except by confronting it, symptoms and causes, head-on. Without compromise and without delusion."

Muslim leaders issued a joint statement condemning the attacks, but the city's assistant police commissioner, Tarique Ghaffur, said they needed to do more, such as informing on potential terrorists and their supporters.

On a leafy residential street of central London, meanwhile, one of the last signs of the violence disappeared when the wreckage of the double-decker bus believed to have been blown up by Lindsay was towed away.


Latest bombers being shielded

Bruce Wilson in London

POLICE yesterday identified two of last Thursday's London bombers as more than 3000 marksmen fanned out across London, joining the largest manhunt in British history.

In a dramatic day, Scotland Yard also identified where two of the bombers lived and the Southgate flat in which they believe the bombs – which failed to detonate – were made.

They also released details of a mundane-looking household food bucket that could be a vital clue. They believe the explosives were mixed in similar containers, a brand sold in only about 100 outlets across the UK.

The two bombers were identified as Yasin Hassan Omar, 24, from Somalia and Muktar Said Ibrahim, 27, who was thought to be from Eritrea.

As polls showed growing public concern about Britain's Muslim community, the fact that Omar had been paid more than £23,000 ($58,000) in state benefits over a six-year period caused more outrage. He appears to have been living free in the one-bedroom north London flat – where the bombs apparently were assembled – after being given political asylum status.

Muktar, also known as Muktar Mohammed Said, moved in with him two years ago.

A neighbour, Sammy Jones, 33, said she saw the two men carrying unmarked boxes into the ninth-floor flat and asked them what they were. They said it was wallpaper stripper.

Other neighbours said the two had recently been joined by a third man, and the three used to kick a football about in a nearby park. Recently Omar had taken to wearing Muslim robes.

Police are now convinced there were five bombers after deciding a fifth man ditched a bomb near Wormwood Scrubs prison in west London. They have not identified the other three.

Five people have been arrested in connection with the two bombing attacks on London, on July 7 and 21, but none was directly involved, police said.

Muktar's father, who is believed to have lived in London for 10 years, was also being questioned.

Police allege Muktar was the bomber whose device failed to explode in a No. 26 bus in Hackney, East London, while Omar had tried to blow up an Underground train between Oxford Circus and Warren Street, in central London.

The latest developments provoked calls for a thorough investigation into Britain's generous political asylum policies. It is likely that all the bombers in the second attacks were admitted to the country as asylum seekers.

The killers in the July 7 attacks, which killed 56 people, were either of British-Pakistani origin or were British citizens.

Police remain puzzled why nobody has come forward with information on the four July 21 suspects whose pictures have now been all over the media since last Friday. They believe the four certainly have gone to ground, and are being protected, evidence the cell may be well-organised and extensive.


Jordan Homicide Bomb: An Islamic Wedding Gift

Written by Barbara J. Stock
Friday, November 11, 2005

           The wedding had been set for after Ramadan on November 9, 2005 in Amman, Jordan.  A young couple was celebrating their future lives together and sharing their joy with 300 friends and family.  This scenario is not so different from weddings in Chicago or London or Sydney.  The bride was lovely in her white gown and the groom was handsome in his tuxedo.  The only difference for this couple is that, instead of a honeymoon, their marriage will start by burying their fathers and eight other family members. 

          As this Muslim couple celebrated the beginning of their new lives together, a stranger wandered into the wedding hall, placed himself in the heart of the happy crowd, and blew them and himself to bits.  This wedding and its guests were the victims of an Islamic attack on a “soft target.”

     The term “soft target” is code for innocent civilians that are much easier to kill than heavily armed soldiers.  And the killing is what it is all about for these Islamics.  This couple and their guests were Jordanian, and Jordan has been assisting the West, specifically America, in fighting Islamic terrorists.  Therefore, any citizen of Jordan is a fair target for Islam.  A verse from the Quran states: “Slay the transgressors whereever you find them.”  This young couple and people at the two other sites in Amman were considered “transgressors.”  Nearly all those killed were Muslim.

     While some in the Islamic world will be outraged and claim that these murderers are not “true Muslims,” it is a simple fact that those suicide bombers and those that sent them are following the Quran to the letter. 

     Last week, the authorities in Australia were luckier.  What was reported as a “significant attack” on Australian civilians was thwarted before it could be carried out.  Islamic cleric Abu Bakr, a strong supporter of bin Laden and terrorists around the world, was arrested as the ringleader of the group.

     This has been a busy week for Islamics.  The liberal media has tried to blame the riots in France and now Belgium and Germany on “high unemployment” and lack of jobs rather than admitting it was Muslims sensing a chance to tear something apart and shoot at police.   This was a chance for Islam to test the system and the government it hates.  It also exposed western Europe’s dirty little secret.

      The dirty little secret is that most western European countries, have “no-go” zones.  These “no-go” zones are Muslim neighborhoods and the police and firefighters do not enter these neighborhoods unless they absolutely must do so.  These “zones” belong to Islam, and all non-believers enter at their own risk.  Non-Muslims on the fringes of these “Islamic zones” suffer violent attacks from roving bands of Muslim men and boys patrolling “their” territory.  The outrage is that this behavior has been allowed.  Europe is just beginning to pay the price for hoping its Islamic problem would just go away if Muslims were just left alone.

      In Iran, lovely television shows directed at small children teach these children that it is a joy to become suicide bombers in defense of Islam.  The children are taught that Allah will be pleased with them if only they die killing the enemies of Islam.

      In the ten-minute film, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, a young Palestinian boy must watch as “evil” Israeli soldiers beat and kill his parents and brother.  The boy then joins a “resistance” group who will help him avenge the deaths of his family.  Tearful surviving family members bid him farewell with these words, “Go, my children. Go and show the Zionists how brave and heroic are the children of Palestine.”  The story ends when the boy, laden with grenades, blows himself up in the middle of a group of Israeli soldiers who all have the face of Satan.  A friend of the dead boy picks up his friend’s bloodstained keffiyeh headdress, drapes it over himself, and walks into the sunset--presumably to become a suicide bomber himself.

      The Arab news channel, Al-Jazeera, realizing that the world was growing restless with Islam calling suicide bombers “martyrs,” has now renamed the act of killing one’s self to kill others, “Paradise Operations.”  The message is clear:  kill for Islam and paradise awaits. 

      The president of Iran has publicly declared Israel should be blown off the face of the planet.   Mohamed El Baradei, the head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency, is a Muslim and he seems to be making excuses for Iran and its advancing nuclear program.  El Baradei always wants to give Iran “a little more time” to be honest about a program that was hidden and lied about for almost 20 years.  Can El Baradei truly be trusted to monitor a Muslim country?  Can he put his responsibility to monitor Iran’s nuclear activities above Islam? 

      In Indonesia, two 17-year-old Christians were shot in the head, point-blank, on their way home from church and a few weeks ago three Christian girls were beheaded.

     Most of Europe remains in denial that Islam is a real threat not only to their lives but their cultures and way of life.  Here in America, people have become complacent about the threat, continuing to cling to the idea that Islam is a nothing more than a peaceful religion that has been high-jacked by a “handful” of bad people.  The problem is that this handful equals millions of people who are determined to kill and die for Allah.  These terrorists are convinced that a violent death is the only path to paradise. 

     For the most part, so-called “moderate Muslims” remain silent in their condemnation of this mass murder and many quietly cheer the killing.  News agencies are reporting that even in Jordan, a country of almost six million people--nearly all Muslim--only a few hundred people took to the streets to protest the recent bombings.

      Why has America not been struck again?  No one knows for sure but all agree it is just a matter of time before there is another attack on American soil.  The appeasers believe that if America pulls its troops out of Iraq, America will be safe.  What the peaceniks seem to forget is that America was not occupying Iraq on September 11, 2001.  If we pull the troops out of Iraq, Islam will see this action as a sign of weakness and will step up terror attacks around the world.  Perhaps fear of mass retaliation from one of the few countries that has stood up to Islam is making the terrorists hesitate.  But Islam’s apparent success in cowing Europe will give them courage.

     Americans need to look at the video of the devastated wedding from Jordan.  Next week or next month those videos could be from a wedding in St. Louis or a mall in Minneapolis.  It could be grammar school in Toledo or a hospital in San Diego.  America is full of “soft targets” and Islam has plenty of people who wish to take part in a “paradise operation.”  It’s coming, America, so are we ready?


FBI thwarts terrorist plot against NYC

Associated Press Writer
Jul 8, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) -- The terrorist plot, in the words of one FBI official, involved "martyrdom and explosives": suicide bombers who would attack train tunnels used by tens of thousands of commuters in an effort to bring death and flooding to lower Manhattan.

Eight suspects had hoped to pull off the attack in October or November, federal officials said. But federal investigators working with their counterparts in six other countries intervened before the suspects could travel to the United States and become a more serious threat, officials said Friday.

Initial reports said the suspects - including an al-Qaida loyalist arrested in Lebanon and two others in custody elsewhere - wanted to attack the Holland Tunnel, a major thoroughfare that carries cars beneath the Hudson River and into Manhattan.

But officials said the group, with five suspects still at large, had specifically mentioned only the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation train tunnels, which carry more than 215,000 passengers each weekday between New York and New Jersey.

"This is a plot that involved martyrdom and explosives," said FBI Assistant Director Mark J. Mershon.

Officials cited the arrest of the Lebanese suspect - described as the scheme's mastermind - as a significant break in the investigation. A Lebanese official said the Beirut man confessed to plotting to attack the tunnels later this year, and that he was acting on Osama bin Laden's orders.

Police arrested the operative on April 27, acting on information from the FBI, a senior security official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. The 31-year-old suspect uses the alias Amir Andalousli, but his real name is Assem Hammoud.

The suspect told investigators he had already undergone training in light weapons in Ein El-Hilweh, a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon that is notorious for lawlessness and violence among rival Palestinian factions.

His family, however, denied any al-Qaida links.

His mother, Nabila Qotob, told The Associated Press she's visited him regularly at a police station where he's being held.

"His morale is high because he is confident he is innocent," she said. "Don't make up accusations. My son is innocent. What al-Qaida? He never left his father's side. He loves life and fun."

New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly said the men believed that bombing the train tunnels under the Hudson River would unleash massive flooding in lower Manhattan, home to Wall Street and the World Trade Center site.

FBI agents monitoring Internet chat rooms that extremists use determined that tunnels were possibly being targeted after they pieced together code words from the conversations, a federal official said.

A federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the probe is ongoing, said the suspects hoped it would inflict damage on the U.S. economy.

"They were about to go to a phase where they would attempt to surveil targets, establish a regimen of attack and acquire the resources necessary to effectuate the attacks," Mershon said.

Details of the plot - first reported by the Daily News - emerged on the one-year anniversary of the attacks on the London transportation system that killed 52 people. Officials said the timing of Friday's report was coincidental.

New York's transportation system has emerged as a potential terrorist threat several times over the years. A June book by journalist Ron Suskind highlighted a reported plot by al-Qaida to kill thousands by spreading cyanide gas in the subway. In May, a man was convicted of plotting to blow up a bustling subway station.


Two killed as at least 46 bombs rattle restive south

Associated Press
June 14, 2006

Bangkok: Suspected Muslim insurgents exploded at least 46 bombs yesterday in attacks on government offices and other targets across Thailand's restive south, killing at least two people, as the deputy prime minister visited the region, officials said.

Two people were killed by the blasts in three provinces, and another 24 wounded, said police spokesman Colonel Pattanawut Angkanawin.

The bombings in the three southern Muslim-majority provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala, most of which took place as people headed to work between 8:30 am and 9 am, represented the most extensively coordinated attacks in many months by the suspected Islamic separatists, whose activity surged in January 2004.

One of the bombs went off at a government office in Yala minutes before Deputy Prime Minister Chitchai Wannasathit was due for a visit in the area. Chitchai is in charge of overseeing security in Thailand's south.

More than 1,300 people have been killed in sectarian fighting in the past two-and-a-half years. Government efforts to contain the violence, mainly by pouring security forces into the area, have failed to make much headway.

The attacks came just two days after Thailand finished celebrating the 60th anniversary on the throne of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and was a sharp reminder of the problems down south after a period of relative calm.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said intelligence information had indicated the insurgents had planned a "major operation" for yesterday but that the government's security operation was "not good enough" to block the attacks.

Thai intelligence officials have said that June 15 was the date chosen by a 1997 meeting of insurgents to represent the "national day" of an independent Pattani sultanate.

The area was annexed in the early 20th century, and a violent separatist movement has waxed and waned since then.

Government efforts to contain the violence, mainly by pouring security forces into the area, have failed to make much headway.


Australian terror suspects bought chemicals, downloaded instructions for bomb making

By Meraiah Foley
March 6, 2007

SYDNEY, Australia – Nine men accused of Australia's largest terrorist conspiracy downloaded bomb-making instructions off the Internet and stockpiled chemicals to make lethal explosives because they believed Islam was under attack, a state prosecutor said Tuesday.

The nine were devotees of a radical Muslim cleric sympathetic to Osama bin Laden, and struck a pact to launch a terrorist attack because they felt their religion was under threat and needed to be defended at any cost, a pre-trial hearing heard Tuesday.

They were arrested in a series of 2005 raids in Sydney and the southern city of Melbourne, where cleric Abdul Nacer Benbrika and other followers were also detained and now face separate charges of belonging to a terrorist group.

The nine men were formally indicted Tuesday on one charge each of conspiring between June 2004 and November 2005 to carry out a terrorist act.

A police report released at the time of the arrests listed Australia's only nuclear reactor, the Lucas Heights facility near Sydney used to make radioactive medical supplies, as a possible target. The reactor was not mentioned in Tuesday's hearing.

None of the suspects, who face a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted, entered a plea. The purpose of the hearing, expected to last weeks, was to allow the judge to decide whether there is enough evidence to send the men to a jury trial.

Prosecutor Wendy Abraham said the suspects had obtained large amounts of industrial chemicals that could be used in bomb-making, including hydrochloric and citric acids, glycerin, acetone and brake fluid.

They also had detonators and laboratory equipment such as beakers and rubber tubing to mix and store chemicals, and documents that were “extremist in nature,” Abraham said.

“They believed Islam was under attack,” Abraham told the court. “Violence was the primary tool of their jihad.”

Attorneys for the men did not comment Tuesday but have said they nine are innocent.

During a June 2005 raid on the house of one suspect, Mohammed Ali Elomar, authorities found a computer memory stick containing a 60-page document in Arabic that included instructions on how to make bombs and how to hide explosives near restaurants and government buildings, Abraham said.

The instructions included how to make TATP, the explosive used in the deadly 2005 London subway bombings that can be made from bleach, drain cleaner and acetone paint thinner, she said.

At the homes of two other suspects, Khaled Cheikho and Mirsad Mulahalilovic, authorities found magazines and press releases from al-Qaeda, videos of people being beheaded and transcripts of speeches by bin Laden, Abraham said.

The prosecution alleges the nine men were in routine contact with each other about the alleged plot, using mobile phones registered with fake names to communicate by encoded text messages.

Two of the suspects, Abdul Rakib Hasan and Khaled Sharrouf, allegedly used a mobile phone to arrange a meeting with Benbrika, the prominent Muslim cleric known for praising bin Laden as a “great man.”

During the meeting in Melbourne, Benbrika allegedly told the men they should be prepared to die.

“Everyone has to prepare to die or be jailed, but we have to be careful,” Abraham quoted him as saying. “If we want to die for jihad, we have to do maximum damage, maximum damage.”

Benbrika, also known as Abu Bakr, pleaded not guilty in December to directing the group's activities and possessing a CD related to planning a terrorist act.

Mazen Touma, Omar Baladjam, Mustafa Cheikho and Mohammed Jamal are the other suspects.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organization, the national spy agency, has requested that parts of the proceedings be closed to the public for national security reasons.