Suicide bombers, gunmen attack Maiduguri

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Suicide bombers, gunmen attack Maiduguri

   November 5, 2011 01:21PM A triple suicide bombing of military headquarters in Maiduguri and three roadside bombs in different areas shook northeast Nigeria’s biggest city on Friday, while militants launched multiple gun and bomb attacks two other cities west of it, witnesses and the military said.

It was one of the most violent days in radical Islamist sect Boko Haram’s growing campaign of violence against local authorities in dry, dusty northeastern Borno state.”One soldier and six civilians have been injured by the three suicide bombers in multiple blasts,” Lieutenant Colonel Hassan Mohammed, commander of the Joint Military Taskforce for Borno state, told Reuters. Earlier, three roadside bombs exploded in quick succession in an apparently coordinated strike, hitting the wards of Meduguri and Jajeri and the El-Kanemi College of Islamic Theology, all of them around the time of Friday prayers, sending the Muslim faithful fleeing from their mosques. The northeast’s almost daily shootings and frequent bombings in the past months have been blamed on Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden”. The attacks usually target public and religious figures in the poor, semi-arid north.If the attack on the military headquarters is confirmed to be the work of Boko Haram suicide bombers, it will mark the second confirmed time the group have used this tactic.

The other was a suicide car bomb attack against the United Nations’ Nigeria headquarters in Abuja, which killed 26 people and gutted several floors of the building.Boko Haram says it wants sharia law more widely imposed across Nigeria.

It draws much of its support from unemployed youths in the remote, economically deprived north.The group appears to be growing in sophistication and security analysts believe it has made links with al Qaeda’s north African affiliate — al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb.

A local security source said it was not yet clear if there were any casualties from the three bomb blasts in Maiduguri.

Suspected Boko Haram gunmen later attacked the towns of Damaturu and Potiskum, next to each other about 100 km west of Maiduguri, in Yobe state, and engaged in running gun battles with security forces, witnesses said.Residents heard several explosions, which later turned out to be bombings of small local churches and a police stations, they said.”Several police stations and churches were bombed. The whole problem started around 6 p.m. this evening, when there was exchange of gun fire between the sect and the security operatives,” said Damaturu resident Umar Gambo.

“It’s horrible”.Another witness in Damaturu, a local journalist who declined to be named, said he had seen a group of 10 militants had attacked a mosque and the local police headquarters.”We are all indoors while the fighting is going on. Damaturu and Potiskum my home town are under siege. The Boko Haram sect have taken over the towns and the security men are battling them. No one is safe,” said Potiskum resident Mammam Mohammed.Security forces this week started door-to-door searches for weapons in the northeast, after an arms amnesty for Islamist militants expired on Oct. 31. It was unclear whether or not this spate of attacks was a response to that operation.

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Youths kill family of 8 in restive central Nigeria

From Reuters:

Mon Sep 5, 2011 6:13am GMT

JOS, Nigeria (Reuters) – Muslim youths hacked a Christian family of eight to death in Nigeria’s volatile Plateau state on Sunday, local officials said, continuing a week of violence that has pitted gangs from the two faiths against each other and civilians.

More than 40 people have been killed in the ethnically and religiously-mixed area since last Monday when Christian youths attacked some Muslims as they gathered to celebrate the end of Ramadan in the city of Jos, capital of Plateau state.

Plateau state spokesman Yiljap Abraham took journalists to the house in the village of Tatu, where the bodies of the eight victims from the latest attack were still lying on the bloodsoaked floor.

On Sunday morning, in another village in Plateau called Riyom, police found a bomb planted in a marketplace which had failed to go off because its battery had run flat, Sergeant Willford Egwu told journalists.

Plateau state, straddling the “Middle Belt” between Nigeria’s mostly Muslim north and largely Christian south, though normally peaceful, has sometimes been a flashpoint for tensions between the two faiths.

Unrest there is a new security issue for President Goodluck Jonathan, also coping with near-daily attacks in the northeast by Islamist sect Boko Haram, which authorities blame for an August 26 bombing of U.N. offices in Abuja that killed 23 people.

Suspected Boko Haram militants shot dead an outspoken Muslim cleric who had criticised the group, Lieutenant-Colonel Hassan Mohammed from Nigeria’s joint military task force told Reuters. The men shot him in a raid on his home on Sunday in Maiduguri, the city at the heart of the Boko Haram insurgency.

On Saturday at least four people including one soldier were killed in clashes between local youths and security forces in the town of Biu in the northeast near Maiduguri, a senior police officer told Reuters.

“The fracas broke out on Friday night when the youth ambushed one soldier and killed him close to the Army Barracks in retaliation to the killing of a woman and the arrest of four Islamic clerics,” the source said.

Egyptians deploy 2000 soldiers to Sanai to thwart potential Islamic terror

From Al Masri Al Youm

 Egypt’s military deployed to Sinai to defend from potential terror attacks

Flames rise after an explosion near the town of El-Arish, Egypt, 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the border with Israel, July 4, 2011. Unidentified assailants blew up the Egyptian pipeline that carries gas to Israel and Jordan early on Monday, starting a fire and disrupting the flow of the gas, security officials said.

Photographed by other
Egyptian authorities on Friday deployed over 2000 soldiers to the Sinai Peninsula to thwart possible attacks by Islamist militants, security sources said.

“More than 2000 policemen and several military armored vehicles were stationed around security premises in North Sinai’s Arish city,” the sources said.

“The security deployment is for defense purposes only,” said Abdel Wahad Mabrouk, the governor of North Sinai. “We are not chasing anyone in Sinai’s mountains,” Mabrouk added, referring to the peninsula’s caves, which have been traditionally used as special hideouts for Bedouin smugglers and Islamist militants.

On Thursday, the American television station CNN reported that Egyptian authorities were preparing to launch an operation against Al-Qaeda cells that had recently been established in Sinai. Continue Reading →

National Post: Canada’s role in Al Shabab recruitment for Islamic terror

Canada not refuting extremist ideologies, U.S. committee told

Feisal Omar/REUTERS

Feisal Omar/REUTERS

New recruits belonging to Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab rebel group celebrate during a passing out parade at a military training base in Afgoye, west of the capital Mogadishu February 17, 2011.

  Jul 27, 2011 – 6:50 PM ET | Last Updated: Jul 27, 2011 6:56 PM ET

A U.S. Congressional committee on terrorist recruitment of American Muslims turned its attention north on Wednesday, as a prominent Somali-Canadian leader testified that Ottawa had failed to tackle the ideology of extremists.

Ahmed Hussen, president of the Canadian Somali Congress, told U.S. lawmakers that the Canadian government was concentrating on detecting and arresting terror suspects while leaving their rhetoric unchallenged.

“The strategy of Canadian officials as they confront this phenomenon in my community has been to view this serious matter only through the prism of law enforcement,” he said. “There has not been a parallel attempt to counter the toxic anti-Western narrative that creates a culture of victimhood in the minds of members of our community.” Continue Reading →

Al Qaeda’s New Video: A Message of Defeat

Al Qaeda’s New Video: A Message of Defeat is republished with permission of  STRATFOR.

Al Qaeda's New Video: A Message of Defeat


By Scott Stewart

A new video from al Qaeda’s media arm, As-Sahab, became available on the Internet on June 2. The video was 100 minutes long, distributed in two parts and titled “Responsible Only for Yourself.” As the name suggests, this video was the al Qaeda core’s latest attempt to encourage grassroots jihadists to undertake lone-wolf operations in the West, a recurrent theme in jihadist messages since late 2009.

The video, which was well-produced and contained a number of graphics and special effects, features historical footage of a number of militant Islamist personalities, including Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abdullah Azzam and Abu Yahya al-Libi.

In addition to al-Libi, who is considered a prominent al Qaeda ideological authority, the video also features an extensive discourse from another Libyan theologian, Sheikh Jamal Ibrahim Shtaiwi al-Misrati. Al-Misrati (who is from Misurata, as one can surmise from his name) was also featured in a March 25 As-Sahab message encouraging jihadists in Libya to assume control of the country and place it under Shariah once the Gadhafi regime is overthrown. The still photo used over the March message featuring al-Misrati was taken from the video used in the June 2 message, indicating that the recently released video of al-Misrati was shot prior to March 25. The video also contains a short excerpt of a previously released Arabic language Al-Malahim media video by Anwar al-Awlaki and an English-language statement by Adam Gadahn that is broken up into small segments and appears periodically throughout the video.

Despite the fact that many of the video segments used to produce this product are quite dated, there is a reference to bin Laden as a shaheed, or martyr, so this video was obviously produced after his death.

Unlike the As-Sahab message on the same topic featuring Adam Gadahn released in March 2010 and the English-language efforts of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s “Inspire” magazine, this video is primarily in Arabic, indicating that it is intended to influence an Arabic-speaking audience.

To date, much of the media coverage pertaining to the release of this video has focused on one short English-language segment in which Adam Gadahn encourages Muslims in the United States to go to gun shows and obtain automatic weapons to use in shooting attacks. This focus is understandable given the contentiousness of the gun-control issue in the United States, but a careful examination of the video reveals far more than just fodder for the U.S. gun-control debate.


Contents of the Video


The first 36 minutes of the video essentially comprise a history lesson of militants who heard the call to jihad and then acted on it. Among the examples are individuals such as ElSayyid Nosair, the assassin of Jewish Defense League founder Meir Kahane; Abdel Basit (also known as Ramzi Yousef), the operational planner of the 1993 World Trade Center attack and the thwarted Bojinka plot; Mohammed Bouyeri, the assassin of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh; and Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan. Others include the leader of the team of assassins who killed Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and the militants behind the Mumbai attacks.

Then, after listing those examples, the video emphasizes the point that if one is to live in the “real Islamic way,” one must also follow the examples of the men profiled. Furthermore, since the “enemies of Islam” have expanded their “attacks against Islam” in many different places, the video asserts that it is not only in the land of the Muslims that the enemies of Islam must be attacked, but also in their homelands (i.e., the West). In fact, the video asserts that it is easy to strike the enemies of Islam in their home countries and doing so creates the biggest impact. And this is the context in which Gadahn made his widely publicized comment about Muslims buying guns and conducting armed assaults.

Now, it is important to briefly address this comment by Gadahn: While it is indeed quite easy for U.S. citizens to legally purchase a wide variety of firearms, it is illegal for them to purchase fully automatic weapons without first obtaining the proper firearms license. This fixation with obtaining fully automatic rifles instead of purchasing readily available and legal semi-automatic weapons has led to the downfall of a number of jihadist plots inside the United States, including one just last month in New York. Therefore, aspiring jihadists who would seek to follow Gadahn’s recommendations to the letter would almost certainly find themselves quickly brought to the attention of the authorities.

When we look at the rest of Gadahn’s comments in this video, it is clear the group is trying to convey a number of other interesting points. First, Gadahn notes that jihadists wanting to undertake lone-wolf activities must take all possible measures to keep their plotting secret, and the first thing they should do is avail themselves of all the electronic manuals available on the Internet pertaining to security.

A few minutes later in the video, Gadahn remarks on a point made in a segment from a U.S. news program that the Hollywood perception of the capabilities of the National Security Agency (NSA) is nowhere near what those capabilities are in real life and that, while the NSA and other Western intelligence agencies collect massive amounts of data, it is hard for them to link the pieces together to gain intelligence on a pending attack plan. This is true, and the difficulty of putting together disparate intelligence to complete the big picture is something STRATFOR has long discussed. Gadahn notes that the downfall of most grassroots operations is loose lips and not the excellence of Western intelligence and urges aspiring grassroots jihadists to trust no one and to reveal their plans to no one, not even friends and family members. This claim is also true. Most thwarted grassroots plots have been uncovered due to poor operational security and sloppy tradecraft.

The video also contains lengthy theological discussions justifying the jihadist position that jihad is a compulsory, individual obligation for every able-bodied Muslim. As the video turns to the necessity of attacking the enemies of Islam in their homelands, Gadahn notes that Americans are people who crave comfort and security and that terrorist attacks scare them and take away their will to fight Muslims. According to Gadahn, terrorist attacks also cause the people to object to leaders who want to attack Islam, and the people will not vote for those leaders. Continue Reading →

Al-Qaeda Rising in Libya?

From Heritage Blog H/T Richard

The Arab Spring may be becoming a long hot summer.

In the President’s major speech on the Middle East yesterday, it seemed pretty clear that he has moved on from Libya and turned his attention back to the Arab–Israeli peace process. Attention deficit disorder, however, may not be the right answer.

There is a disturbing news report that two men arrested in Tunisia were “suspected of being members of al-Qaeda.” They were picked up near the Libyan border “carrying an explosives belt and several bombs, a security source told Reuters.… The men were carrying Afghan identity papers and were of Libyan and Algerian origin, the source said, adding that they were also connected to two men arrested in Tunisia last week.…

Please click over to Heritage to read the balance of this article.

Dispatch: Jihadist Groups After bin Laden’s Death


Video here:

Vice President of Tactical Intelligence Scott Stewart discusses some of the al Qaeda franchise groups and other jihadist threats following the death of Osama bin Laden.

Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

In the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, one of the things it is important to keep in mind is that jihadism is much bigger than just the al Qaeda core group. In fact, over the last several years, we have seen the franchise groups come to eclipse the core group in terms of importance on the physical battlefield and the ideological battlefield.

Many people have been saying, over the last day or so, that they believe jihadist terrorism is dead with the death of bin Laden, and that al Qaeda will be no more. But I think that a thoughtful discussion of this topic needs to look at what al Qaeda is.

At STRATFOR, when we look at jihadism, we see it as a much broader phenomenon than just al Qaeda. In fact, at the apex of the jihadist movement we do have al Qaeda core group. But below that we have a whole array of regional franchise jihadist groups. And further down we have an even broader, diffuse selection of people whom we call grassroots jihadists. Those are people who are radicalized, who have adopted a jihadist ideology but who do not have a real connection to the al Qaeda core or the franchise groups. Continue Reading →

‘Al-Qaeda snatched missiles’ in Libya


AL-QAEDA’S offshoot in North Africa has snatched surface-to-air missiles from an arsenal in Libya during the civil strife there, Chad’s President says.

Idriss Deby Itno did not say how many surface-to-air missiles were stolen, but told the African weekly Jeune Afrique that he was “100 per cent sure” of his assertion.

“The Islamists of al-Qaeda took advantage of the pillaging of arsenals in the rebel zone to acquire arms, including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries in Tenere,” a desert region of the Sahara that stretches from northeast Niger to western Chad, Deby said in the interview.

“This is very serious. AQIM is becoming a genuine army, the best equipped in the region,” he said.

His claim was echoed by officials in other countries in the region who said that they were worried that al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) might have acquired “heavy weapons”, thanks to the insurrection.

“We have sure information. We are very worried for the sub-region,” a Malian security source who did not want to be named said.

AQIM originated as an armed Islamist resistance movement to the secular Algerian government.

It now operates mainly in Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger, where it has attacked military targets and taken civilian hostages, particularly Europeans, some of whom it has killed.

“We have the same information,” about heavy weapons, including SAM 7 missiles, a military source from Niger said. Continue Reading →

Jihadist Opportunities in Libya

By Scott Stewart at STRATFOR:

As George Friedman noted in his geopolitical weekly “Revolution and the Muslim World,” one aspect of the recent wave of revolutions we have been carefully monitoring is the involvement of militant Islamists, and their reaction to these events.

Militant Islamists, and specifically the subset of militant Islamists we refer to as jihadists, have long sought to overthrow regimes in the Muslim world. With the sole exception of Afghanistan, they have failed, and even the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan was really more a matter of establishing a polity amid a power vacuum than the true overthrow of a coherent regime. The brief rule of the Supreme Islamic Courts Council in Somalia also occurred amid a similarly chaotic environment and a vacuum of authority.

However, even though jihadists have not been successful in overthrowing governments, they are still viewed as a threat by regimes in countries like Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. In response to this threat, these regimes have dealt quite harshly with the jihadists, and strong crackdowns combined with other programs have served to keep the jihadists largely in check.

As we watch the situation unfold in Libya, there are concerns that unlike Tunisia and Egypt, the uprising in Libya might result not only in a change of ruler but also in a change of regime and perhaps even a collapse of the state. In Egypt and Tunisia, strong military regimes were able to ensure stability after the departure of a long-reigning president. By contrast, in Libya, longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi has deliberately kept his military and security forces fractured and weak and thereby dependent on him. Consequently, there may not be an institution to step in and replace Gadhafi should he fall. This means energy-rich Libya could spiral into chaos, the ideal environment for jihadists to flourish, as demonstrated by Somalia and Afghanistan.

Because of this, it seems an appropriate time to once again examine the dynamic of jihadism in Libya.

A Long History

Libyans have long participated in militant operations in places like Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Iraq. After leaving Afghanistan in the early 1990s, a sizable group of Libyan jihadists returned home and launched a militant campaign aimed at toppling Gadhafi, whom they considered an infidel. The group began calling itself the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in 1995, and carried out a low-level insurgency that included assassination attempts against Gadhafi and attacks against military and police patrols.

Gadhafi responded with an iron fist, essentially imposing martial law in the Islamist militant strongholds of Darnah and Benghazi and the towns of Ras al-Helal and al-Qubbah in the Jabal al-Akhdar region. After a series of military crackdowns, Gadhafi gained the upper hand in dealing with his Islamist militant opponents, and the insurgency tapered off by the end of the 1990s. Many LIFG members fled the country in the face of the government crackdown and a number of them ended up finding refuge with groups like al Qaeda in places such as Afghanistan. Continue Reading →

Various important STRATFOR SITREPS

Some of the massive output from STRATFOR.COM today so far. hey and its only 1:00

Egypt: Coptic Priest’s Death Sparks Protests
February 23, 2011
A Coptic priest was killed in his southern Egypt home, triggering demonstrations by Christians numbering in the thousands, AP reported Feb. 23. The priest was found in his home, and had been stabbed, according to a fellow clergyman, who added that neighbors had seen masked men leave the apartment shouting “Allahu akbar.” About 3,000 protesters clashed with Muslim shop owners the night of Feb. 22, smashing the windows of a police car in Assiut city.

Israel: Troops Fire On Militants Following Bomb Attack
February 23, 2011
Israeli tank fire wounded 11 people, including at least six militants, in the Gaza Strip Feb. 23 following an attack on an Israeli patrol, the military and Palestinian officials said, AP reported. The Israeli military said its tanks fired on militants after the militants detonated a bomb targeting the Israeli patrol near the border. Militants then fired mortars at the soldiers. Gaza health officials say two of the wounded militants were in serious condition. Islamic Jihad and Hamas militants said they fired mortars at the troops.

European Union: States, NATO Forces Set Up Blockades Against Libyan Refugees
February 23, 2011
The European Union states of the Mediterranean, including Spain, France and Italy, with the help of NATO forces, have set up sea and air blockades against the infiltration of Libyan refugees, Voice of Israel reported Feb. 23.

Libya: Al Qaeda Creates Islamist Emirate In Derna – Interior Ministry
February 23, 2011
According to the Libyan Foreign Ministry, al Qaeda has created an “Islamist Emirate” in Derna, Libya, Al Arabiya reported Feb. 23.

Somalia: Pirates Add Ammunition, Men To Secure Hijacked Vessels
February 23, 2011
Somali pirates are ferrying ammunition and men to 30 hijacked vessels still under their control and threatened to kill more hostages after four U.S. citizens were killed in a standoff on Feb. 22, AP reported Feb. 23, citing a statement by a pirate claiming to be named Adowe Osman Ali. Ali said that about 20 pirates used to guard every ship, but now numbers are ranging between 60 and 70 pirates. Pirates are more alert now than any time before, Ali said, adding that they have warned foreign ships not to get near to hijacked vessels

Libya Islamists ‘seize arms, take hostages’

From Middle-East-Online

TRIPOLI – Islamist gunmen have stormed a military arms depot in Libya and a nearby port and seized numerous weapons and army vehicles after killing four soldiers, a security official said on Sunday.

The group also took several hostages, both soldiers and civilians, and is “threatening to execute them unless a siege by security forces is lifted” in Al-Baida, the official said, asking not to be named.

“This criminal gang assaulted an army weapons depot and seized 250 weapons, killed four soldiers and wounded 16 others” in the Wednesday operation in Derna, which lies east of Al-Baida and 1,300 kilometres from Tripoli.

“Army Colonel Adnan al-Nwisri joined them and provided them with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, three pieces of anti-aircraft artillery and 70 Kalashnikov” assault rifles, the source said.

On Friday, he said they attacked the port in Derna and seized an assortment of 70 military vehicles.

It was not immediately clear who the civilians were or where they had been taken hostage.

The group calls itself the “Islamic Emirate of Barqa,” after the ancient name of a region of northwest Libya, and the official said its leadership is made up of former Al-Qaeda fighters previously released from jail. Continue Reading →